Everything you need to know about protecting yourself from the sun
With clear skies for miles and an endless spread of sunshine, you know that your fishing rod wouldn’t stay on the dock. It’s time to catch that elusive trout or snapper! Don’t forget to grab that fishing hat on your way out. You DEFINITELY need it!
There’s no better time to go fishing than when the sun shines bright, the day is clear and nature comes alive. Unfortunately, this means being under the full glare of the sun exposed to its fierce rays.
This article goes through everything you need to know about the importance of staying protected from the sun, including 11 top tips which will keep you safe.
Table of Contents:
- Why is the sun harmful?
- Why skin cancer is dangerous?
- Who can benefit from UPF Clothing?
- Why is it important to protect your skin?
- What is the difference between UPF and SPF?
- 11 Tips to protect yourself from the sun
- Pick dark or bright colored clothes
- Wear UPF ratings 50+ clothing
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen
- Sunscreen should be applied to dry skin only
- Reapply sunscreen generously
- Stay in the shade
- Schedule outdoor activities
- UV-resistant clothing
- Wear UV-filtering sunglasses
- Stay hydrated
- Sun protection starts at your head
- What is the most important piece of clothing for sun protection?
- REEL IT ALL IN
UNDER THE SUN
It’s fun in the sun and we need some of it to generate Vitamin D but extended exposure can be really harmful. Understanding how important it is to protect your skin is a must if we are going to continue enjoying the great outdoors fishing.
Err to the side of caution knowing that most of the wrinkles and age spots on our faces are caused by sun exposure. Sun spots aside, excessive sun exposure can lead to severe consequences including skin cancer.
CAN OF WORMS: THE LOWDOWN ON SKIN CANCER
A lot of people look at sunburns as nothing more than a minor discomfort but the truth of the matter is that it shouldn’t be taken lightly. As a matter of fact, studies in the UK indicate that getting a sunburn once every two years alone can triple your risk of melanoma skin cancer.
Getting sun-burnt means that the DNA in your skin cells have been damaged by too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Ultraviolet A-rays (UVA) may not contribute much to sunburns compared to Ultraviolet B-rays (UVB), but it does penetrate deeper into the skin to cause aging. Both types of UV rays cause skin cancer and the sun dishes them out generously. There’s a 3rd type - UVC - which is more fatal; but we can thank the ozone layer for shielding us safely from it, for now.
In a Maryland study, fishers who spent a lot of time on the water had a 2.5 times higher risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma than those who spent less time in the sun.
Experts in the Skin Cancer Society believe that skin cancer is the most common cancer worldwide. Almost 10,000 Americans are diagnosed with this malady every day. Statistics indicate that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.
The number of people diagnosed with skin cancer in the US is alarming. It is actually greater than the total of all the other cancers in the country combined and the annual cost to treat these skin cancer cases is estimated at $8.1 billion.
NO ONE’S OFF THE HOOK
Anyone can get skin cancer. People who have fair or freckled skin, light-colored eyes, red-haired or blonde are of the greatest risk. The risk may be lower to individuals with a darker complexion but they too are still susceptible to all types of skin cancer.
Other risk factors include having a history of skin cancer, having an outdoor job, and living in a sunny climate. Unique to melanoma, a history of severe sunburns and an abundance of large and irregularly shaped moles are risk factors.
People who spend a lot of time in the sun have an increased risk of skin problems - from rashes to skin cancer. Reported in a study from the University of East Carolina, nearly 25 percent of the North Carolina fishing community have skin disorders.
Under the Seventh Book of the German Social Code (Sozialgesetzbuch, SGB VII), solar UV radiation exposure is considered as an occupational hazard for outdoor occupations. The association of occupational exposure to solar UV radiation to squamous cell carcinoma including actinic keratosis has been conclusive.
YOUR SKIN MATTERS
Prone to skin cancer is the head, which is often left exposed. Skin cancer develops primarily on the scalp, face, lips, and ears. Ensuring we keep this area covered is extremely beneficial in the overall prevention of sunburn and cancer.
Sun-exposed skin on the neck, chest, arms and hands, and legs are also premium real estate for skin cancer. However, do you know that skin cancer can form on areas that rarely see the light of day such as your palms, beneath your fingernails or toenails, and the genital area.
These harmful rays can reach the skin’s dermal layer, damaging collagen and elastic tissues. This layer is also where the cells that stimulate skin darkening are found. People who think that a tan still looks healthy are gravely mistaken.
That tan is actually a sign of DNA damage. The darkening of the skin is a flawed effort to prevent further skin damage which could lead to the cell mutations that trigger skin cancer.
Evidence points that the number one cause of skin cancer is the UV radiation from the sun. Exposure to sunlight during the winter months puts you at the same risk as exposure during the summertime.
Even under an overcast weather, your skin can still actually get sun-burnt because 80 percent of UV radiation is present in the clouds. This nasty bunch can also be as sneaky as ninjas by reflecting on water with its full potency. Reflective UV radiation is as damaging as direct UV radiation.
KNOW YOUR UPFs
The Ultraviolet Protection Factor or UPF is a measure of how much UV radiation penetrates a fabric. Sun Protection Factor (SPF), on the other hand, is a time measure of how your sunscreen protection against UVB lasts.
A fabric or garment with a UPF 50+ rating provides excellent protection from both UVA and UVB radiation as it blocks 98% of the sun’s rays. With only 2 percent UV penetration, your exposure risk is greatly reduced.
An SPF 30 sunscreen will protect your UV-exposed skin for about 10 hours if used correctly. But it is important to note that UVB intensity and wavelength distribution vary throughout the day and location so it would be wise to reapply religiously.
Protection from the sun is for everyone that’s why these protection factors should be relevant in our choice of gear or garment if we are to enjoy the outdoors UV-safe.
9 out of 10 of skin cancer cases could have been easily prevented by practical solutions such as using sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and a 4 or 5 star rating, wearing the right outfit (sunglasses, loose long-sleeved UPF 30-50 top, and a hat) and by staying out of the sun. But then of course as a fishing enthusiast, you will agree that staying out of the sun would be quite a trick to pull so let us get the right stuff.
(SUN)DIAL IT DOWN: 11 WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE SUN
1. Pick dark or bright colored clothes because they keep UV rays at bay by absorbing them rather than allowing them to penetrate the fabric. Tightly woven fabrics offer better protection than sheer, thin, or loosely woven cloth. Hold the fabric against the light and if you can see through, then UV can easily slip through the fabric too.
2. Don’t wear clothing with a UPF rating that is below 30. Some clothing makers provide UPF labels, which indicate exactly how much the garment can actively shield you from the sun’s rays. A UPF of 30 to 49 provides very good protection but UPF 50 and up are excellent. A white T-shirt offers only moderate protection of 7 UPF and drops to 3 when it gets wet.
3. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen (these protect you from UVB and UVA rays) with an SPF of at least 30, even on cloudy days. Use a generous amount of sunscreen on all exposed skin, including your lips, the tips of your ears, and the backs of your hands and neck. SPF 15 blocks 93 percent of UVB rays. SPF 30 blocks 97 percent. The increase in protection is even more gradual after that, 98 percent for SPF 50 and 99 percent for SPF 100.
4. Sunscreen should be applied to clean, dry skin 30 minutes before exposure to the sun which allows it time to absorb properly.
5. Reapply sunscreen generously every two hours. More often if you are swimming or sweating.
6. Stay in the shade as much as possible. Cool your heels under a tree or any cover that offers adequate shade.
7. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. Schedule outdoor activities for other times of the day, even in winter or cloudy days.
8. Make your clothes more sun-protective by using UV-repellent products; it works like a detergent and creates a coating in the fabric when washed with your clothes. The coat uses microscopic crystals that prevent UV penetration. Fabric coatings are what allow clothing companies to create SPF and UV-resistant clothes
9. Wear UV-filtering sunglasses. Your eyes need protection too. UV rays affect the eyes and the skin around the eyes. Sun exposure may lead to cataracts, cancer of the eyelids and even macular degeneration or blindness.
10. Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water. Health authorities recommend eight 8-ounce glasses a day. Some health gurus believe that you need to sip on water constantly throughout the day - even when you’re not thirsty.
11. Sun protection starts at the top by wearing a great sun hat or fishing hat that has at least a brim of three inches and a UPF 50+ rating. This will shade the face, scalp, neck, shoulders and upper back, and all the easily overlooked places like the tops of the ears and nape. Basal and squamous cell carcinomas account for about 90 percent of all skin cancers, and often appear on the head and neck.
WEAR THE RIGHT HAT
When you’re out there fishing, your sun protection strategy should include covering up with clothing, a hat, sunglasses, and finding refuge in some shade to avoid the sun. Sunscreen is just not enough. No sunscreen can block 100 percent of UVB rays - not even the ones with ultrahigh SPF rating.
The sun can be a merciless beast as much as it is a radiant parable of beauty and life. So the next time it’s warm enchantment seduces us to bum rush out of the door for an adventure, pause for a second and remember that the ill-prepared could end up having the worst bite of their lives.
Fishing hats play a key role in keeping anglers protected from insects and the elements. Whether you’re a newbie or a pro, adding a quality fishing hat to your getup could spell the difference between a day of glory or a day you will regret.
A good fishing hat is something that keeps the sun out of your eyes and face, won't blow off even in a stiff wind, is water-repellent, dries quickly, and prevents sunburn on your neck.
So while sunblock is a definite MUST for outdoor activities, it is EQUALLY IMPORTANT to find the right hat specific to fishing.
You know what? We’ve got the perfect ones for you.
Presenting the GearTOP Fishing Hats for men and women!
The Navigator Series is designed with the outdoorsman in mind. Whether you're going for an adventure walk or heading out to the open water for that big catch, this BESTSELLER will keep your head and face shielded from the sun and heat, with its UPF 50+ protection!
The mesh panels that line the hat allows for moisture and heat to easily evaporate to keep your noggin cool and help you stay dry by reducing the sweat build-up. And when it’s time to give it a rinse, you can wash it up and leave it under the sun for a minute & will dry in no time. You’ll be thankful for its nylon material’s quick-drying ability!
If you’re looking for 360° protection, our Discoverer Series Boonie Hat has a unique design that offers the same wide brim to give you full coverage, for the face, ears, and neck. The removable neck flaps and mesh face cover protect you from bugs and mosquitos; with adjustable draw cords for that perfect fit and comfort in movement.
Both hat variants are very handy, you can carry them along wherever you go. Just fold the top up & fit it into your backpack or carry bag. Convenience is always key when exploring the great outdoors, all the more when fishing!
All GearTop hats and gears come with a Lifetime Guarantee as well. Should you experience any problem at all with our products, you’re free to message us and we promise to refund every penny of your purchase, with free shipping.
Now, ain’t that a great catch?
REEL IT ALL IN
Fishing is an activity of utmost dedication, it’s one that keeps you hooked once you’re in. So, to ensure a truly enjoyable catch, follow these tips and prevent skin cancer. Having the right protective mindset - and gear - will help you sustain your love for fishing.