The summer’s here along with the holiday season and after a long period of time covered up, it’s a natural response to want shed some clothes and take in some warming UV rays on the skin. But while the ‘bronzed’ look can look healthy, the ‘red’ look is not quite so cool looking and something we should all avoid, putting us at risk of skin damage.
Our skin is the largest organ of the body and our first line of defence against bacteria, chemicals and temperature. Even those who turn brown with controlled exposure to strong UV, too much can and will lead to burning. Skin cancers are something professional waterman and women are all too aware of. Long exposure times often in harsh summer conditions, can eventually lead to skin problems and regular skin check ups for them is part of their occupational maintenance. For all of us, checking our skin should be regular practice.
Australian’s know a thing or two about skin cancer and their ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ slogan (slip on a shirt, slop on some suncream, slap on hat) become an institutionalised core message of their Cancer Council’s SunSmart program, widely credited as playing a key role in the dramatic shift in sun protection attitudes and behaviour over the past two decades. In 2007, the slogan was updated to Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide to reflect the importance of seeking shade and sliding on wraparound sunglasses to prevent sun damage.
Core to this precautionary message, Mistral offer protective UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) UPF 50+ Lycra – Peaked Caps and Sun Visors which are not just a fashion statement, but essential protective measures to keep you out in the sun longer, not just on daily basis, but ultimately, over your lifetime. A UPF 50+ garment for example, permits 1/50th of the sun’s UV radiation to reach the skin. Wearing the correct protective clothing will keep you on the water for longer and while suncreams have their place, if creams get on to equipment, they become very slippery and unmanageable.
Any clothing can be considered sun-protective if it covers the skin, and darker colours, tighter weaves and synthetic fabrics are all better at blocking harmful rays than lighter, loosely woven clothes of natural fibres. Garments with a UPF rating are designed to provide more protection. The numbers range from 15 to 50-plus, and higher numbers indicate more UV protection. The number is comparable to the SPF (sun protection factor) of sunscreens, which also provide more protection at higher numbers. Of course, wetsuits provide maximum protection if you are going to be immersed, whether snorkelling, paddle boarding, wing foiling or surfing.
Clothing is the single most effective form of sun protection, even more than sunscreen, being as clothing is a physical blocker of the rays. Stay safe, live long and keep covered up to stay out longer to enjoy your water life and living lifestyle.