It’s that time of year again. Yes, the tournaments have started the sun is extremely hot , and our swim-suits, shorts, and tank tops are on. Summertime everyone wants to look good with that rich warm glow of a tropical tan; and we all look good with some color to us. Besides the sun makes us feel good. Being a woman I am probably a bit more vane about my appearance, but I do know that the sun causes premature aging,wrinkles and skin cancer. Here are some words to add to your summer vocabulary: ultra violet rays (UVR), sun protection factor(SPF), and melanoma. I take the sun very seriously and after reading several books and articles on the sun and sun protection, as well as taking into account my own experience I decided to share some information about how you can protect yourself from the sun.
For anglers 3/4 of their time has been and is spent exposed to the harmful UVA and UVB light. What kind of light? This light is the light that burns and pentrates the skin perhaps they should be called ultraviolent rays. UVA pentrates deeply to damage your skin’s lower layers causing wrinkling and premature aging; UVB is asbsorbed at the surface, causing burning and peeling. This UVB light is the most intense between 10A.M. and 2P.M. ( remember tournament hours and most of our leisure time are spent in this time frame) . Twice as many men as women get skin cancer because they traditionally work and spend their leisure time outdoors. Although more women are entering the outdoor fields and sports, the stats are likley to change.
The sun is a matter most take lightly and do not think about twice. But Melanoma is no laughing matter. Its is the fastest growing skin type cancer around. However it is curable if it is diagnosed early enough. Melamonia tends to be more common in Caucasians who are exposed to intense and intermittent exposures of the sun. Melanoma is a cancer that often originates as a dark mole. Most of these cancerous moles or spots did not come up over night. This exposure usually occurs from a series of sunburns while we were children or young adults not aware, nor did we care about the conquences of the sun at that time. Not suprisingly 30 -40% of skin cancers appear on the nose, ears and top part of our hands. This is why proper and simple prevention is so important. Some of the symptons or warning signs to look for are: a mole or spot that starts to grow irregular in size(mole should not be bigger than a pencile erracer), itching,bleeding or darker in color. One scarey part is that you may not have any of these signs at all so a visit to your dermotoligst at least once to check any questiable area out is advisable. The following are some simple tips:
Sight is one of our most important senses and several sunglass manufactors have excellent eye protection avaible for anglers and outdoor people. Most people purchase these glasses because they are polarized and reduce glare; only a handful of these glasses protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. This protection filters out 100% of the harmful ultraviolet rays. This means they absorb 100% and this helps filter out rays that can cause severe eye damage such as: cataract and coreal damage and even eyelid cancer. After all we only have one set of eyes and spending as much time on the water as most do, it is one investment we should not hesitate about. Proper close fiting wrap around sunglasses are recommended for the maximun protection. So think about this on your next purchase of polarized sunglasses.
Another part of sun protection is a hat or cap to protect the head , eyes, ears, and nose from direct sun. A cap with a large brim or flaps will offer the most protection for the ears, neck, and face. A simple brimmed hat can cut the UVB exposure by half. This is something that almost every angler has and wears. This part comes easy as do the sunglasses.
Sunscreens , on the other hand, are not used as often and do not come as natural as putting the old cap on. But they are the most important of all. A tube packed in your suitcase and one in the glove box of the boat will help remind your self that this protection is needed. If applied in the morning as soon as you are dressing for a practice day or tourney sunscreens can and will be very effective. Remember it must be applied in the morning before we are exposed to the sun. If you make it part of your routine you will hopefuly turn it into a habit. Suncreens come in several diffrent SPF(sun protection factor) numbers. The most commonly recommended is 15 the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that everyone use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more. The higher the SPF number the more protection . This protection also will be determined by your complection.
Choose your sunscreen wisely and look at the SPF number. Studies show that it does not have to be an expensive brand to be effective. Several manufactors have a Sport Sunblock out that is sweatproof , waterproof and will not rub off. This is probally best suited for anglers, since we never know what the weather will be like. Apply this lotion or cream liberally. The only catch is that you must apply before sun exposure. Most people only apply the sunblocks and screens after they feel the burning sting of the sun. At this time it is too late to protect your skin. Yes, some of you may think that your skin is as tough as leather (and it might look like it ) but you still need to be protected. Studies show even if you have been exposed to the sun for a long time and have never used any protiction that it is NEVER to late to start and it will help reduce your chances of skin cancer.
We all use some type of lip protection to keep our lips from cracking and drying out. Sunscreens are avaibale now in the lip balms. Taking a few extra minutes to seek these out , can be well worth your time.
With clothing avaible that is precoated with UVR -absorbing chemicals the SPF offers 50,60 and even more times the protection. It should last through 25 washings and evens develops more UVR protection. If you can not find these articles just use common sence. Long sleeved shirts and long pants made of tightly wooven fabric.
So please take a few minutes of your time to protect your skin and possibly save your life
– Lake Havasu
– Lake Havasu