Summer rocks. Sunny skies, warm water, boardies. What more could you want? Skin cancer? Probably not! That sun fries peeps. It might be kiff to get that nice buff tanned look, but just make sure it doesn't come at a price you don't wanna pay. There's nothing naff about loading on the sunscreen to protect that pretty face of yours. Sure, Kelly might reckon you don't need sunscreen you just gotto eat right. But being the best surfer in the world doesn't make you a leading authority on skin care. Anyway, if anyone can put up their hand and say they eat as healthy as Kelly, sure, go ahead and ditch the sunscreen. But that means you eat 90% raw food like seeds, nuts, fruit, drink mainly water, hardly any alcohol etc....willing to bet none of you do that. So then listen up...
So for all you ou’s going yada, yada, yada about putting stuff on your face, do it. Cos you only got that 1 layer of skin, and if you burn it bad, it’s burnt for good. Not cool. Not only do you want to avoid skin cancer, but you also don’t want to look like a crusty sea-dog when you hit 40.
Sunblock is a very, very important addition to your surf equipment collection. We definitely have a good chance of getting skin cancer cos of the time we spend out in the water. Both sand and water reflect UV rays, so we get dealt a double whammy. And don’t think if the sun’s not out you’re safe, those UV rays pass straight through the clouds, just looking for a face to fry.
It’s totally worth the bucks investing in a decent face sunscreen. Cheap is nasty as far as sunscreen goes. It’s a bit of a juggle cos obviously you want something that’s going to protect your skin, stay on for at least a coupla hours in the water, not turn your face into zit-city, and not run into your eyes and sting like crazy.
I fried my face stukkend a few years ago, and really stuffed up my skin. Nothing like living in the UK for 2 years to make you white like a sheet, and then forgetting to put sunscreen on on your first day back home (early December) and then heading out to surf for 6 hours. Was always gonna end in a bugger-up…or in this case, a bad burn! And a permanent set of freckles. So now I’m paranoid about putting on sunscreen, and lank fussy about what products I use. Did some serious research into what was decent and what wasn't.
Make sure your sunblock protects against both UVA and UVB rays. SPF is a multiplier that indicates how long the sunscreen will increase your bodies natural defenses against UVB radiation. Essentially, if your skin could naturally handle 10 minutes in the sun, then putting SPF 30 on would mean you could handle 300 minutes. The hiccup is that the organic chemicals are being broken down from the second you put the sunscreen on, and so the effectiveness of a sunscreen is constantly decreasing.
Sunscreens marked "Water-Resistant" are rated after 40 minutes of submersion. So an SPF 30 that boasts “Water Resistance,” might have started off much stronger, but is still rated 30 at the end of the test. The best rating for surfers is “Very Water-Resistant,” in which a sunscreen is rated after 80-minutes of submersion
It helps heaps to have a sunscreen that has physical as well as chemical blockers. So you want some zinc or titanium dioxide in there. These literally sit on the outside of your skin reflecting the UV rays.
Put your sunscreen on at least 20 minutes before you paddle out. So soon as you pull into the carpark put that on first, before you start messing about with wetties and boards and wax etc.It actually takes your skin this long to react to the sunblock and get the full effect, allowing your skin to absorb most of the lotion. A bonus is you won’t get as much runoff in your eyes.
Here's some good face sunscreens I've tested out you can get at your local Dischem, chemist or Surf Centre.
Win a tube of Bronzinc