The Importance of Skin Protection
Our friends at LifeJacket have kindly produced an article to highlight the importance of protecting yourself from the sun when you're out on the water.
It's a great read with some really interesting facts and we'd like to thank LifeJacket not only for the content, but also the work they do in raising awareness around sun protection and the boat friendly solutions and products they provide. Thanks guys, it's much appreciated...
When am I at risk?
The simple, and possibly surprising answer is whenever you are outside. It is easy to only think about protecting yourself from the sun when out on the water on a warm and clear day in summer. The reality however is very different and hopefully this article will help highlight the importance of protecting your skin on a daily basis, all year round.
What does the damage?
Ultraviolet (UV) is a type of light emitted by the sun. It is invisible to the human eye so is not something you would ever be able to see, which in many ways makes it more dangerous. UV rays cause harm by penetrating our skin and damaging the various cells and proteins underneath the skin's surface.
Sometimes the damage being caused to the skin will be immediately obvious, for example sunburn or a tan (both our bodies way of drawing attention to the fact it is under threat), however a lot of the time such damage only becomes apparent after years of continued UV exposure, such as wrinkles or ageing at one end of the spectrum to skin cancer at the other. If damage isn't immediately obvious and as we can't actually see UV, it is easy to understand how much more long term damage is being caused than you may realise.
There are two types of UV rays that reach us and our skin; UVA and UVB
UVB rays have slightly shorter wavelengths than UVA (making them more powerful) so only penetrate the top layer of our skin. They are most commonly associated with causing sunburn (think UVB for Burn) but as with all UV rays they damage cells and proteins which can contribute to cancer. UVA rays on the other hand penetrate the skin deeper and are often associated with longer term skin damage, including wrinkles and other signs of ageing as well as cancer.
So UV is only a risk during summer?
Unfortunately not. One of the biggest differences between UVA and UVB is how much of each actually reach us and more alarmingly when.
Unlike UVA, most UVB rays are absorbed by the earth's atmosphere, which expains why 95% of the total UV rays that reach us are UVA compared to only 5% UVB. However another key difference between the two is at what points of the year they are most prevelent and how they react to obstacles.
As most people would have assumed, UVB rays are at their strongest when the sun is highest in the sky, which means the middle of the day (a few hours either side of midday) and especially during the summer months.
UVA rays however maintain the same level of strength not only as long as the sun is in the sky, but also throughout the year. Furthermore 80% of UVA rays penetrate clouds and windows so even on a grey and overcast day your skin is exposed to UV.
What does this mean for my skin health?
If there was one thing to take away from this article, it would be an awareness that protecting your skin from UV rays is not only essential during the summer but throughout the year. We know there is the temptation to only think about it when on the two week holiday, or if you are out on the water on a hot day. But the science is that your skin is exposed to UV rays every single day of the year, and whilst much of the time the damage being caused may not be visible, it will take its toll in years to come.
Boat owners and enthusiasts are actually an extremely at risk group. In addition to being out in the open for long stretches of time throughout the year, UV rays reflect off many surfaces, including snow, concrete and water, so often nearly doubling the amount of UV you and your skin is exposed to.
LifeJacket, Our Inspiration and Our Mission
We were in our early 30's when four of our good friends were diagnosed with varying forms of cancer and we stumbled across the statistic that men in the UK, as well as much of Europe, North America and Australia are nearly twice as likely as women to die from skin cancer. There is no biological reason for this difference, it is simply due to habit and awareness.
Our mission is to halt male skin cancer by raising awareness of the importance of good skin health year round, helping people understand the science and the facts when it comes to the sun and protection (check out our journals here to learn more) and finally offering a range of products people will enjoy using.
Our daily moisturisers and sun gels are non-greasy, easy to apply and won't leave you smelling of coconut, plus have been clinically and dermatologically tested and approved for use on sensitive skin and all skin types. Most importantly, they have been engineered to offer UVA and UVB protection and are available in a number of sizes, including easy and convenient 10ml sachets for those on the move where space is at a premium..! They are also certified as reef safe and water resistant.
We also offer a range of UPF 50+ clothing (a typical cotton t-shirt offers the equivalent of SPF 5 protection), including tee shirts, long sleeve tops and a wide brimmed sun hat, which is ideal for offering full head and neck protection.