Too much sun

tippet

hardcore flyfishing addict
PhilR, I appreciate your question about sunscreen safety. I want to reiterate my first point in my first post in this thread: our first line of defense and by far our best protection against the sun is to keep sunlight from hitting the skin by wearing a hat, protective clothing, buff, beko, sun gloves, sunglasses, etc. Sunscreen is an inferior, second line of defense to provide protection to what can't be protected otherwise.
Don't get me wrong, sunscreen does play an important role in protecting against skin cancer. Studies unquestionably show that it decreases the risk of melanoma and common forms of non-melanoma skin cancer, not to mention wrinkling and photoaging of the skin.
However, sunscreen's effectiveness is significantly overrated by most people. It is not a magic shield that completely prevents sun damage. Moreover, potential problems and concerns have been identified with almost every sunscreen ingredient with which I am familiar. We know that a number of them can achieve a tiny but measurable blood level after being applied to the skin, opening the door to possible undesirable side-effects. The National Institute of Health (NIH) is currently working with private companies to determine whether various sunscreen ingredients actually do have a negative impact on health and to what extent they do. According to a statement put out by the NIH in January 2020, they can't state with certainty that sunscreen ingredients are completely safe, and that current studies also do not allow them to state that they are unsafe.
When I do a risk/benefit analysis, the incontrovertible benefits of sunscreen use during periods of high sun exposure on fair skinned individuals far outweighs the current level of evidence against using sunscreen. I am concerned about potential problems from sunscreen ingredients, and some ingredients may fall by the wayside as we learn more about the ACTUAL deleterious effects and how commonly they occur. There are some who claim that non-organic blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are safer than organic (chemical) blockers, but I am not certain that is true. I am aware of several studies that raise a variety of potential safety issues about them as well.
If you look at a list of possible side-effects of ANY medical treatment without an understanding of the frequency and severity with which they occur, it would be easy to be dissuaded from receiving an important treatment. As an example, try reading the package insert of any prescription you take. I hope that this is at least somewhat helpful.
 

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
I got burned too much in my late teens and all through my 20's, living and surfing on Oahu. Last time I traveled to the Hawaiian Islands was in 1984, during the month of January. The sun felt so hot on my skin at mid-day that it hurt, and I had to stay in the shade until late in the afternoon. I refuse to vacation in the tropics at all now.
Here on the WA coast, I try to come inside by 11am and don't feel like its safe for me to be outside until after 4pm. In another month, I'll be avoiding much direct sun exposure until after 5pm. I wear long sleeves, long pants, and a wide-brimmed hat. Today wasn't bad, as the overcast never went away and the temp peaked at 55F. At dusk the temp was dropping below 50F. I get a lot of foggy mornings and the low overcast often lasts all day here. By watching my timing and covering up, I can usually avoid applying chemical sunscreen, except for my face and neck.
I need to go in for a checkup.
 

PhilR

Active Member
Thanks for such a thorough response. I really appreciate it. I should have phrased it as “on top of my usual hat and long sleeves”, but the reminder is well taken, to keep the photons off the skin in the first place.

PhilR, I appreciate your question about sunscreen safety. I want to reiterate my first point in my first post in this thread: our first line of defense and by far our best protection against the sun is to keep sunlight from hitting the skin by wearing a hat, protective clothing, buff, beko, sun gloves, sunglasses, etc. Sunscreen is an inferior, second line of defense to provide protection to what can't be protected otherwise.
Don't get me wrong, sunscreen does play an important role in protecting against skin cancer. Studies unquestionably show that it decreases the risk of melanoma and common forms of non-melanoma skin cancer, not to mention wrinkling and photoaging of the skin.
However, sunscreen's effectiveness is significantly overrated by most people. It is not a magic shield that completely prevents sun damage. Moreover, potential problems and concerns have been identified with almost every sunscreen ingredient with which I am familiar. We know that a number of them can achieve a tiny but measurable blood level after being applied to the skin, opening the door to possible undesirable side-effects. The National Institute of Health (NIH) is currently working with private companies to determine whether various sunscreen ingredients actually do have a negative impact on health and to what extent they do. According to a statement put out by the NIH in January 2020, they can't state with certainty that sunscreen ingredients are completely safe, and that current studies also do not allow them to state that they are unsafe.
When I do a risk/benefit analysis, the incontrovertible benefits of sunscreen use during periods of high sun exposure on fair skinned individuals far outweighs the current level of evidence against using sunscreen. I am concerned about potential problems from sunscreen ingredients, and some ingredients may fall by the wayside as we learn more about the ACTUAL deleterious effects and how commonly they occur. There are some who claim that non-organic blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are safer than organic (chemical) blockers, but I am not certain that is true. I am aware of several studies that raise a variety of potential safety issues about them as well.
If you look at a list of possible side-effects of ANY medical treatment without an understanding of the frequency and severity with which they occur, it would be easy to be dissuaded from receiving an important treatment. As an example, try reading the package insert of any prescription you take. I hope that this is at least somewhat helpful.
 

dogsnfish

Active Member
I, like many others, am paying the price. I grew up fishing, hunting, and hiking and later became a biologist who was in the field all summer. Have had many spots burned off or cut off, and my first experience with MOHS was this year and took a 3-1/2" circle out of my face. My sun protection was always a ballcap, but not anymore. Bought my first Buff and the Simms clone this spring, and am switching to wide-brimmed hats along with long-sleeve fishing shirts. Plus sunscreen. Getting the phone call that you have cancer is a real eye-opener. My wife took it really hard, so if nothing else, protect yourself for those who love you.
 

Old Man

A very Old Man
WFF Supporter
Just because you're wearing a shit doesn't mean you can't get sunburned through the shirt. When I was very young my mother told me that I got sunburned through a linen shirt. She told me that the shirt was cooked onto my skin. I still don't know how in the hell that happened. But I believed her. She told me they ruined the shirt cutting it off of me.
 

tippet

hardcore flyfishing addict
Old man Jim, You are so right! There is a significant variability in sun protection from one clothing item to another. For example, a typical white T shirt is typically somewhere between SPF 4 and SPF 8. In other words, 8 hours out in the sun is like 1-2 hours outside bareback. That may partially explain why the back is the most common location on the body for both men and women to develop a malignant melanoma.
A quick and dirty way to check a clothing item to see how much sun protection it provides is to hold up a single layer of that clothing item to a bright light and see how much light comes through. It is a great way to compare two different clothing items (such as two shirts) to see which would be more protective.
For outdoor activities like fishing, hiking gardening, mowing the lawn, etc., I wear long-sleeved shirts with a measured SPF rating of 30 to 50. These clothing items actually provide the level of protection that they claim to provide, unlike all sunscreens on the market which protect at a much lower level than that they claim as their protection level in their actual use on people who use them. The shirts are usually made of supplex cotton or some other fabric that breathes reasonably well so that I don't mind wearing them on hot summer days. I usually get my shirts at Sportsmans Warehouse, Cabelas, REI, etc.
 

Brian Miller

Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout
WFF Supporter
The shirts are usually made of supplex cotton or some other fabric that breathes reasonably well so that I don't mind wearing them on hot summer days.
My favorite fishing-hiking shirts are all loose-fitting long-sleeved nylon or polyester with a 30 to 50 SPF. I feel much cooler in those shirts than I do with bare sleeves and am also cooler than wearing 100% cotton OG 107 fatigues. That's because the synthetics don't absorb-hold much moisture so they "wick" moisture (sweat) to both disperse the moisture over a greater area and less heat is required for evaporation that makes me feel cooler. I never use fabric softener when I wash them because it leaves a waxy residue on the that hinders wicking and "breathability". They also have caped back, zippered chest and underarm vents to increase conduction-convection cooling to lower the body temp.
 

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