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Sun protection for the beach and the ski slopes

November 11, 2016

Floridians generally are pretty well-versed when it comes to sun protection. We spend a lot of time at the beach, so we know a thing or two about battling the harmful effects of the sun’s rays. But those rays can be a bit sneaky, can’t they? You can get burned quickly out on the water fishing or paddling, or on the ski slopes snowboarding or snow skiing. The rays reflecting off the water or snow can leave you reaching for the aloe afterward if you don’t take the right precautions to prevent sunburn/snowburn. Continue reading to learn more about sun protection.

So here’s a bit of a refresher on sun protection and some tips to stay burn-free:

Sunscreen vs. sunblock

The sun sends UVA and UVB rays at us. UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply and contribute to premature aging and skin damage. UVB rays damage the outer layer of skin (sunburn) a
nd contribute to the development of skin cancer.

Sunscreen penetrates the skin, where it absorbs UVA rays before they can damage the dermal layer. Sunblock, which usually contains ingredients such as octocrylene, remains on the skin’s surface and sets up a barrier against UVB rays.

Many sun protection manufacturers have broad spectrum products that work against both UVA and UVB at the same time.

What is SPF?

SPF stands for sun protection factor. This is a rating that gives the user an idea how effective a product is in blocking UVB.

Sean Rose, a rep for Sun Bum, said a product with an SPF of 15 blocks 93 percent of UVB rays. A product with an SPF of 30 blocks 97 percent, and SPF 50 blocks 98 percent of UVB rays.

It is important to note the difference between SPF and another factor, UPF, which stands for ultraviolet protection factor. SPF is used as a measurement for sunscreen products, while UPF is
a rating that measures how much UV radiation penetrates a fabric and gets to the skin.

How to use sun protection correctly

One in five people will get skin cancer as a result of sun exposure, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Using sunscreen reduces the chances of getting skin cancer by 80 percent, Rose said.

Rose also made these recommendations:

  • Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going out in the sun. This allows for greater absorption.
  • Reapply every 90 minutes. More often is you are sweating a lot, swimming or constantly toweling off.
  • Use an SPF of at least 15. Go higher for sensitive or high-exposure areas (nose, ears, neck). Rays reflecting off the water or snow increases your exposure by up to 50 percent.
  • Most people apply about a tablespoon of sunscreen, which is too little in most cases. With many products, about three tablespoons is necessary. However, check the label. Sun Bum has a signature line of products where only a shot glass-sized amount provides excellent protection.

Bill Jackson’s carries sun protection products from several manufacturers in our Camping Department, the Dive Shop and the Ski Shop. Got more questions? Come in and talk to our sales associates.