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Friendly Reminder...USE YOUR SUNSCREEN!!!

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Friendly Reminder...USE YOUR SUNSCREEN!!!

Postby njbeast » Mon Apr 18, 2011 6:59 pm

Just like Mom used to tell you...okay...most of us are old enough to remember that there really wasn't much in the way of "sunscreen" when we were kids...but...just got my results back from a biopsy on my nose...basel cell carcinoma, just as my doctor and the specialist figured. Hopefully caught it early enough...really shouldn't be too much of a problem...but it reinforces the need for ALL of us with a bent for the outdoors to lather up.

Had a spot on my nose for a few months that would bleed, heal, than bleed...momma told me she'd kick my ass if I didn't get to the doctor...she does not visit this site so I can clearly proclaim (where she can't hear me)...she was right. Please take proper precautions when out in the sun...the nose you save may be your own!!!



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Re: Friendly Reminder...USE YOUR SUNSCREEN!!!

Postby maverick » Mon Apr 18, 2011 7:22 pm

I all ways cover up, long sleeve shirt, long pants, bandanna, and sun screen, even
more so since my dad had skin cancer on his back from sun bathing (no sun screen)
several years ago.
Reminder, all ways apply sun screen before deet so not to reduce it's effectiveness.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Friendly Reminder...USE YOUR SUNSCREEN!!!

Postby kpeter » Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:25 pm

A very good thread. Thank you so much for bringing this up.

I have a history of melanoma in my immediate family. Knowing this, I converted long ago to a broad brimmed hat and lightweight long pants and long sleeves--even when hot, which (for me) is not that often high in the Sierras. People look at me like I'm crazy as they march by in shorts and short sleeves--but I prefer a light weight covering to gobs of sunblock.

For sun block on my face and hands I've been using the Neutrogena helioplex, which my dermatologist recommended as qualitatively different than the more commonly available products (contains avobenzone--there may be others with that ingredient now). It does come in SPF 100, although SPF is a questionable measure of effectiveness. There are also some other sun blocks based on other ingredients that she also recommended, but they were based on ingredients only approved so far in Europe and Canada and seemed hugely expensive when I looked into it.

Finally, if you have fair skin and/or a family history--especially of melanoma--see your dematologist, get a set of skin photographs taken, and go back for annual inspections. Just consider it part of the price that has to be paid for backpacking at 10,000 feet.
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Re: Friendly Reminder...USE YOUR SUNSCREEN!!!

Postby njbeast » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:33 pm

I have pretty much consistently worn baseball hats, but I too now have taken up the broad bill. I slather my face and ears...but still forsake the arms and legs...this to I fear shall pass. Zinc oxide and titanium seem to be the two main ingrediants that most doctors are concerned be incorporated in sunscreen. I think this summer in my backpacking and fishing exploits I will be relegated to long sleeves and...dare I say...long pants.
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Re: Friendly Reminder...USE YOUR SUNSCREEN!!!

Postby sirlight » Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:32 am

I have been using coppertone sport SPF50 lotion for years now. It soaks in well, is not greasy and is very waterproof. I even used it in the salt water back in my surfing days. When hiking, I put a thick coat right before hitting the trail. Another coat mid day is usually a good idea.

This brings up the question of what to apply first DEET or sunscreen? I usually go with the sunscreen first, since it seem you would want that to “soak in” more. This is just my best guess though.
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Re: Friendly Reminder...USE YOUR SUNSCREEN!!!

Postby Whiplash » Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:29 am

I use the Bullfrog brand of sunscreens because they don't "wash" off when sweating or when taking a quick dip. I find you don't have to keep re-applying it as often because of this.
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Re: Friendly Reminder...USE YOUR SUNSCREEN!!!

Postby The Other Tom » Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:31 pm

Been there, done that. Too many times to count. My dermatologist finally told me he was tired of seeing me for skin cancer. He gave me a prescription for Aldara. It's a cream that you use for about 6 months. It makes horrible looking lesions on your face, but it worked ! No more "places" on my nose/face since.
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Re: Friendly Reminder...USE YOUR SUNSCREEN!!!

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Apr 19, 2011 7:43 pm

I tend to have bad habbits in the Sierra when it comes to the sun. I do cover up by always wearing long sleeve, pants and hats that cover my ears and neck but my current hat doesn't have a big bill and my face gets a bit burnt. Last year after spending over 2 months up there the number of days I used sunscreen was a grand total of 1 day. I did carry a tube of sunscreen for nearly 50 days before I sent it home. Even sun glasses I never wear. I have never been to a dermatologist but i'm sure one wouldn't have positive things to say. This year I intend to "try" and wear more sunscreen but some how I see myself repeating old habbits.
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Re: Friendly Reminder...USE YOUR SUNSCREEN!!!

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:08 pm

I have glacier glasses, spf60-100 (various tubs and tubes and sprays, stashed everywhere), and the Sunday Afternoon Adventure hat. Plus a GoLite Chrome Dome. Plus sungloves (tho one of them went AWOL in the last laundry).

One big patch removed from my back already, and cataract surgery already in my early 30s. The sun does not like me. Do Not Take UV Lightly.
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Re: Friendly Reminder...USE YOUR SUNSCREEN!!!

Postby kpeter » Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:19 pm

Another factoid to keep in mind: at 10,000 feet sun exposure is roughly double what it is at sea level. We really, really need to be careful up there.

I dug up the literature my Dermatologist gave me and also my Consumer Reports and here is the gist of it:

Sun exposure comes in three varieties: UVB, long UVA, and short UVA. Many American sunblocks (that advertise themselves as blocking both UVA and UVB) do not block the long UVA waves. They will prevent a sunburn, but the long UVA waves actually are the kind that promote skin cancers. So you cannot know whether your sunscreen gives you this proction from the misleading claim that they protect against both UVA and UVB--it is the kind of UVA ray they protect against that really matters most.

To also block the long UVA rays the sunscreen either needs a physical blocking agent (titanium dioxide, zinc oxide) or it needs one of a handful of chemical agents (avobenzone, mexoryl) that actually can work on the long UVA spectrum. In Europe, Canada, and Australia only sunscreens which block long UVA are allowed.

Unfortunately, in the United States we can buy many sunblocks that do not block the long UVA rays. For example, a product that has PABA or oxybenzone is very likely not blocking the most dangerous rays. These American products also make many other misleading claims. Almost all of the major sunblock companies are currently being sued for making false claims about being "waterproof" and "sweatproof" etc. And if they have the American Cancer Society seal on them--it means nothing. They pay a royalty fee to use it.

U.S. sunblocks are getting better. A couple of years ago probably 90% of them gave no real cancer protection, now it is closer to 50-50. So read your label and be prepared to throw out any old sunblock that has been sitting around.

By the way, SPF only measures UVB protection. It says nothing at all about either of the kinds of UVA. So SPF measures your protection from sunburn pretty well, but it does not measure your protection from cancer.
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Re: Friendly Reminder...USE YOUR SUNSCREEN!!!

Postby njbeast » Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:57 pm

Thanks all for responding to my post...hopefully it stimulated some thoughts for everyone
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Re: Friendly Reminder...USE YOUR SUNSCREEN!!!

Postby Zoltan » Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:46 am

I much prefer a physical barrier (clothing) to sunscreen. I do the whole routine: long pants, long sleeved shirt, Tilley hat, sun gloves. The sun gloves are particularly important if you use trekking poles at high altitude. Because I do a lot of bushwhacking/xc travel, the clothing also protects me from floral attacks.

If one is planning on hiking in snow, something many on this board will be doing in June, sunscreen is still essential, unless you're prepared to wear a bandanna over your face. I was reduced to this expedient last June up the Muro Blanco to Arrow Peak. My buddy and I both forgot sunscreen and paid the price. Even a few hours in these conditions can fry your face.

I don't fear the sun and try to spend 20 minutes a day as exposed as possible. It provides the most assimilable form of Vitamin D and is a big mood elevator. I am fair skinned and have had a lot of burns my whole life but since I started doing small doses every day, I no longer burn easily. Extreme situations like last June of course will still require a good sunscreen, but in everyday life, I can handle a lot more sun without burning. I still get checked yearly by a dermatologist.

I also cannot help but think that our species has been living under this same sun for millions of years, and only in the past 50 or so have we seen this surge in skin cancers. I have to believe there is something else at work in concert with sun exposure: chemicals in the sunscreens themselves? free radicals produced from a diet high in polyunsaturated fats? Chemicals in plastics? I have no idea, but it's an interesting speculation.
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