Listen, I understand this may be a bit of a departure from my typical Krawdaddy PSAs. However, I think it’s quite the important one! As the kid of a fisherman, I am very familiar with the dangers of overexposure to the sun. Blisters and sunburns aren’t the worst of it, surprisingly. Skin cancer and permanent scarring are the biggest risks you run when you sit with bare skin in the UV rays. Today I’m going to go over a bit of the science behind sun damage, and explore some methods of prevention. Let’s get into it!
I’m not demonizing the sun, oh no. Our bodies need the sun! For many different things, such as sleep patterns, vitamin D, and can even prevent seasonal depression in the winter months. However, this great star in the sky is so powerful, it can do more damage than good at a certain point.
Sunlight makes its way to our good green Earth by way of waves, or UV rays. The longer waves are similar to radio waves, and they are relatively harmless to people. These harmless waves are called UVA rays. UVB or Ultraviolet rays are shorter, and these are the rays that cause sunburns. They travel more deeply into the skin, and upset the skin’s natural processes that are so delicate in nature.
We’ve all had terrible sunburns that healed and transformed after the fact, revealing healed skin after a number of days. However, as you get older, these processes become more of a challenge. With repeated exposure over long periods of time, your skin loses the ability to repair itself so well. The UV damage actually harms the genetic material or DNA that your skin uses to rebuild itself.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, according to New In Health. And it’s no joke, as it appears small and then grows into something much more sinister. There are 2 less life threatening, but still as health serious types of skin cancer: basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. The real life threatening version of this disease is Melanoma. It’s less common, but still gets diagnosed in more than 68,000 Americans per year! This is why learning how to protect and prevent sun damage, as soon as you can if not sooner, is so important.
There’s plenty of ways you can protect yourself from the dangers of the sun. There’s of course the concept of just staying in shade when you can, wearing hats and gloves and neck covers (I’m looking at you fishermen) in order to shelter your skin.
Amazon has many different styles of sunhat, this one is only $15.00 and checks all the boxes. It’ll cover your face and your nose, as well as blanketing your neck so the UV rays won’t beat down on your neck. It comes in plenty of colors, so you can maintain the style while on the lake. Especially when sitting long hours in the sun, it’s so important to wear sunscreen if you’re not willing or able to wear a hat and gloves.
Sunscreen works in a simple, yet interesting ways. SPF 15 essentially means that it’ll take 15 times longer to get a sunburn than if you weren’t wearing any sunblock at all. So on and so forth with the progressing SPF numbers. Over time, the active ingredients in sunscreen will break down so make sure you keep your sunscreen up to date. It’s recommended to wear sunscreen every day, especially on the face if you’re concerned about aging at all. Beyond that, healthy skin is skin that’s protected. Here’s another Amazon find, of sunscreen that’s reef friendly, sport proof, and SPF 50.
Alright, as a concerned kid that loves her fisherman pops, I hope you heed this warning and take sun damage more seriously than you may have before. Even in the winter when you’re Ice Fishing, it’s good to throw on some sunscreen and protection with your waterproof boots. There’s so many simple ways to prevent or reduce your risk of the serious consequences that sun exposure can bring.