Showing posts with label protection. Show all posts
Showing posts with label protection. Show all posts

Sunscreen in the Winter?

With winter upon us please remember, your face needs some help too. This mistake from last year left a scar on my nose. I won't be repeating it. 

It was chilly that morning, at least for Texas in October. Temperatures had just topped 40 degrees and the North wind was whipping at 15-20 mph. I had gloves on, a cold weather hat, three layers, wool socks and my bibs. I was determined to shoot some test footage with the two cameras I had in tow and wanted to get some time on the water and in my haste had hurried. As I unloaded the boat I went down my mental checklist and had my whistle, my PFD, my paddle, pretty much everything but the kitchen sink. The sun was coming out and I had high hopes it would warm up soon as I shoved off and began a great day on the water. 

Fast forward four hours and I was beaching the kayak and envisioning the footage I had shot. I backed down the ramp to load up and felt an itch on my nose. I scratched it and my face lit on fire! A glance into the mirror reminded me of what I forgot. Sunscreen. 

I have been a big advocate of SPF 80+ for several years and had been on a three year streak of no sunburns. The end of my nose is a thin venous covering because of the years of damage I did in my 20s. Skin cancer is less likely an if, but more of a when for me. I am trying to do everything I can but this English nose hides under few caps and without sunscreen it burns. 

I think my fatal flaw was not writing down a list. A mental checklist is only as good as the next distraction. Sunscreen didn't cross my mind because it was cold. That's stupid looking back on it. It's sunscreen, not heat screen. It is the light and reflection of light that chars me, not the presence of warmth. The sun reminded me of that. 

5 days later I was still dealing with the unsightly reminder of my blunder. Please remember to either sunscreen up before every trip or wear an item like a face Buff to protect you. A big wide brimmed hat can also help but is often left behind on a very windy day. 

The action you take today can yield better results down the road. Skin cancer is no joke. Safety is more than just a life jacket. Protect yourself out there. 

In the winter months a cold cream is very unpleasant (at least for me) to put on. Though some people dislike them, a spray sunscreen is much easier on a cold face. You can also put a cream sunscreen on in the car while you are warm if you think about it. (That's where that list comes in.)

One final note, if you can find it at sports stores, sunscreen is usually highly discounted this time of year. Even if it isn't, be safe and be smart. If you're outside, protect yourself. 

The Dreaded C Word


In 2013, the American Cancer Society estimates 1.66 Million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed. 112,000 of those will be in Texas alone. Of the total 1.66M, 76,000 of those will be skin cancer represented as a melanoma. Let me put it a different way. Today, September 24, 2013, 210 new people will be diagnosed with melanoma. This happens every single day.  Not included in the new cases are the number of NMSC (non-melanoma). These are estimated at 3.5 Million for this year. These are people having to get places cut off their noses, heads, ears and hands to make sure it doesn't spread.

So why the gloom and doom?

Cancer has been on my mind alot lately. I have a friend who had a NMSC removed last week the size of a golf ball. I have family I have lost and friends who have lost their loved ones to various forms of cancer this year and my time on the water yesterday afternoon brought it all bubbling up. Needing to get out on the water after a horrid day at work, I was at the kayak launch and was internally dialoguing whether or not to wear sunscreen. I would only be in the sun about an hour. Did I need coverage past the sunscreen? I opted to play it safe. I applied sunscreen to all my skin I could see and then put on my Hoo-Rag to cover even more. As soon as I started toward the west I felt the sun. It felt warm and I knew I had made a good choice.

As a young man in my teens and twenties, I didn't use sunblock. I can remember getting burned to the point of having blisters and welps. Stupid. I now know better. It's a habit you have to build into your routine but if it means being around for your family, friends and fishing buddies a few more years, isn't it worth it?

Here are some of the things I recommend and do.

Sunscreens come in a variety of forms: creams, sprays, gels and more. Find one you can tolerate and keep it with you.

Coverage is another big help. Find a hat. Some people like the wide brimmed ones. Those are best. I have a hard time wearing one so I opt for a ball cap and a Hoo-Rag. The Hoo allows me to cover my ears, face, neck or all three in addition to the sunscreen coverage. I switched to the Hoo-Rag recently because it is a little thinner than a Buff, stretches better and is easier to breathe through. I have four in my collection currently but they have over 30 designs to choose from. I wear long sleeves 95% of the year, especially in the summer. I very rarely wear shorts. And yes, I have a glorious white glow, not that anyone ever sees it.

Reapplication. Sunscreens are usually only good in wet conditions for 60-80 minutes. Keep it with you on the water and reapply often.

Protect your eyes. Find a comfortable pair of sunglasses. I prefer polarized glass lenses and use the Smith Optics PolarChromic Tenet Glasses. The important thing is to protect your eyes. If you want protection AND performance, the Smiths are amazing and light on your nose.

Hopefully this doesn't come across as preachy but I do care about each and every one of you. I hope you and your families never experience cancer and especially one that can be avoided in most cases.

Stay safe out there.

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