As anglers we have more sun exposure than most other sports enthusiasts!  But most anglers are not always good about using sunscreen. That’s why it’s critical to have an understanding of the damages that are caused by unprotected sun exposure and how you can prevent the dangers it represents.

Chronic, long term, unprotected sun exposure causes micro-doses of UVA light to the skin. This UVA exposure produces damage over the years, by inducing a multitude of tiny “scars” where over time cause wrinkles and a greater potential for skin cancer.

We all are familiar with the SPF system which rates the level of UVB or sunburn protection. However, most are unfamiliar with the dangers posed by UVA rays. These rays are responsible for pre-mature aging and sun induced skin cancer. Critical Wavelength is the gold standard for rating the level of UVA protection.  The American Academy of Dermatologists determines that sunscreen products must have minimum Critical Wavelength of 370 nanometers to be defined as a Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB Sunscreen.

 According to the American Cancer Society, in 1985, one out of 150 people developed UVA related melanoma, the fastest growing skin cancer. The lifetime risk of an American developing invasive melanoma has now reached one in 87 (one in 70 for white males) Melanoma rates are now rising faster than for any other cancer; especially in men.  

 So what does this mean to us anglers?  Well, if you don’t want your face to look like a Toad Fish be proactive and follow these simple steps to enjoying the great outdoors:

  1. Use a high SPF sunscreen (SPF 30), that also lists the level of UVA protection. This Critical Wavelength value needs to be over 370nm. All LUCA Sunscreen products display a Critical Wavelength value and exceed the 370nm standard.
  2. Apply sunscreen to dry skin at least 15 minutes before going outside.
  3. Use sun protective clothing, broad brimmed hats and shirts.
  4. Re-apply sunscreen every two hours to dry skin. (Most people apply less than half of that is recommended.)
  5. Use common sense and avoid direct sun exposure when practical. UVB rays or sun burning rays are most intense midday especially in the summertime; but UVA rays remain constant all day and all year long.

With the proven incidence of skin cancers including deadly melanoma increasing at epidemic proportions, bite back by being proactive and always wearing sunscreen that has both UVB and UVA protection.  You will be telling the story about “the one that got away” long into your golden years!

 – Karl Gruber M.D.

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