Ask people what one thing you most need on the course and you’ll get answers from balls to booze. Ask a dermatologist, though, and you’ll get this answer: sun protection. For most of us, sun protection is the last thing on our minds before a round. But, Rockheads, it shouldn’t be. And your favorite Caveman is here is tell you why.
What are UV rays?
UV stands for ultraviolet which are the type of sun rays that fall in the middle of the magnetic spectrum. These rays are shorter than visible light but longer than X rays. Ultraviolet rays include UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. We can’t see UV rays, but they are dangerous and potentially deadly. When they hit the skin, most are absorbed by chromosomes and cell proteins. This causes damage to DNA which can lead to cancer or eye damage. How dangerous are they? Well, in 2000 the National Institutes of Health added UV rays from the sun and tanning beds to the list of identified carcinogens. Two years late, the Institute went so far as to specifically stated each component of broad-spectrum ultraviolet radiation, UVA, UVB, and UVC, were anticipated to be carcinogens.
Why are they dangerous?
You’re probably most familiar with the effects of UVB rays – they cause the sun damage known as sunburn. You may think that a suntan looks healthy, but it’s the exact opposite. Tans and sunburns are forms of radiation burns and are the leading cause of non-malignant skin tumors. When skin cells’ DNA is damaged by UV radiation you can end up with a sunburn or an increase in melanin production – aka a tan. The only cure is to wait for the DNA to repair itself.
UVA rays also cause DNA damage to cells, but these increase the risk of malignant melanomas, the most lethal form of skin cancer.
Exposure to UV rays also generates free radicals, which cause cell damage and increase the risk for malignant melanoma.
Sun exposure also prematurely ages you by damaging your skin and increasing wrinkles. How do you think I look so good for being multiple millenia old?
How do I protect myself?
Sunscreen. Look for a broad spectrum spectrum to block UVA and UVB rays. For good UVA protection, make sure your sunscreen contains zinc oxide, avobenzone, or ecamsule. Choose a spectrum with a SPF rating of 30 or higher – that’s the minimum that dermatologists recommend. You’ll need about a nickel’s worth for your face and two shot glasses’ worth for you whole body. But sunscreen only lasts about 2 hours so remember to reapply! I’d recommend sunscreens by either Neutrogena or La Roche-Posay. If you’re going to be sweatin’, grab yourself waterproof sunscreen.
Grab shades and a hat. Make sure your sunglasses block both UVA and UVB rays. Wrap-around sunglasses work best because they block rays from sneaking in the side.
I’ve got lots of shades at “rock bottom” prices that’ll keep your peepers protected! Check out my shades at the Cave!