I’ve always been the outdoors type and I’ve always loved the sun. Being a red-head however, it’s accurate to say the sun doesn’t love me. When I was a teenager and having a tan was the only way to go I spent many hours in the sun trying to get that golden glow. Armed with Hawaiian Tropic, baby oil with iodine, Wesson oil, or yes, embarrassingly enough I once even tried motor oil, all attempts were futile. The only glow I ever achieved was more like the nose of a certain reindeer than anything golden.
Thankfully I’m a bit wiser now, tanning isn’t as “in” as it was then, and I eventually figured out the freckles wouldn’t all run together and look like a tan! I’ve learned the importance of sunscreen and thanks to Mark (Yaksushi of Yakangler.com I’ve recently discovered the long-sleeved shirts that Rob (Abadbackcast.com) says makes us look like a bunch of Easter eggs.
Unfortunately the damage was already done. I’ve had three basal cell carcinomas removed from my nose and two years ago I had a mole removed from my calf that turned out to be malignant melanoma. Now I have to make regular visits to the dermatologist.
I’m only sharing this information to stress the importance of protecting yourself from the sun. I see people fishing for hours at a time without applying sunscreen; not realizing the reflective properties of the water only intensifies the UV rays. Heck, even though I’m already at risk I sometimes get so busy fishing that I have to make myself stop to re-apply.
I don’t want to sound like I’m lecturing, but if you’re in the sun for too long, it can cause premature aging, wrinkles, blemishes, moles, age spots, and most importantly, you can get skin cancer. Research has recently proven that UV rays can also increase free radicals present in your skin and diminish your body’s immune system, making you more susceptible to carcinogens.
Important Tips for Using Sunscreen
- Use “broad spectrum” sunscreen. It must contain ingredients that block both UVA and UVB rays. The SPF factor relates only to blockage of UVB rays, and not to the sunscreen’s ability to block UVA (which is the one that causes melanoma).
- Use enough. For adequate protection you should use 35 to 40 ml (slather on a handful). Apply to clean, dry skin 30 minutes before exposure to the sun to absorb properly.
- Reapply. Perspiration, exercise, swimming and towel-drying removes sun creams from the skin so you should reapply even if the product is waterproof.
- Take time out in the shade between 11 am and 3 pm, but still apply sunscreen because sand, concrete and water can reflect harmful rays.
- Overcast weather still requires sunscreen in summer because 80 per cent of ultra-violet radiation is still present on cloudy days.
- Everyday use of sun lotions on your face and back of the hands will limit the chances of developing dry leathery skin, wrinkles, mottling and other signs of premature aging and skin cancer.
- Cover up in the sun with loose cotton clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection.
- Budget brands are just as effective as the more expensive brands.
Save your own skin, save your life!