fishing in the sunSpending a week at the lake house in East Texas this summer, I ran into some older gentlemen whose lives revolve around bass fishing and boating on the lake. Everyone who spends a lot of time on the water shares a concern about exposure to the sun.    When I enquired about application of sunscreen, none of them admitted to using sunscreen as a protection. They did not think that sunscreen is very effective with the amount of time they spend outside, sweating and in and out of the water. They all had stories of friends and family members with a history of skin cancers.

According to the American Cancer Society, between 800,000 and 1 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States, and 80 percent are directly related to sun exposure.  UVA and UVB radiation from the sun penetrates the outer layer of skin and cause damage to the collagen beneath. It can change cellular DNA, potentially causing it to mutate into cancer cells.  It is estimated that just two severe sunburns before the age of 18 can increase a person’s chance of developing skin cancer later in life.  The sun also affects the chance of developing cataracts and there is an increased incidence of macular degeneration in adults.

Despite the lack of sunscreen these gentlemen did educate me on other things they do to protect against the sun.  They wear long sleeved, hooded tee shirts, wide brimmed hats and bandanas over the nose. There is a host of new clothing products available that they told me about.  For head protection there are buffs, a balaclava head covering of light material treated to block UVA and UVB rays that covers, face, ears and neck.  There are gloves made of the same fabric to keep the backs of hands protected.  Colorful shirts and pants are available in breathable, sun blocking fabrics. Also, sunglasses that prevent UVA and UVB radiation from passing through the lenses.  A laundry additive, Sun Guard contains the sunscreen Tinosorb.  When added to a detergent, it increase the UPF of the clothing, and this protection lasts through 20 washings.

For the outdoorsman  a broad spectrum sunscreen which blocks both UVA and UVB radiation with an SPF of 50+ is recommended. There are some  sunscreens that are water resistant and SPF is maintained after 80 minutes of water immersion and do need to be reapplied after sweating or toweling to dry off.  For lips: lip-balm containing SPF 30 is recommended.

Reminding our elder fishing enthusiasts to protect themselves against the sun when outdoors with a good sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB rays is good practice, but now we can add protective clothing to our recommendations.  I will be stopping by the sports shop to pick up a few items before my next trip to the lake.

Our Guest Blogger this week is Bronia Michejenko, RN, MSN, GNP, BC.

Join us for a real-time discussion about questions raised by this essay on Tuesday from 12:00 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. See Discussion and SL tabs above for details. Link to the virtual meeting room:

References and Resources

  1. Sun Protection. Cancer Trends Progress Report – 2009/2010 Update. National Cancer Institute. Accessed September 13, 2012
  2. Preventing Skin Cancer: Education and Policy Approaches in Outdoor Recreational Settings.  Accessed September 12, 2013.
  3. Squamous Cell Carcinoma.  American Academy of Dermatology.  Accessed September 12, 2013.