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Why it is important to wear Sunscreen when you are Paddling / What kind of Sunscreen


What kind of Sunscreen

Even though paddle boarding is open to all the weather conditions, most people wait for the summers for paddle boarding ventures. Since it comes under the umbrella of water sports and most water sports events and competitions take part in the summer time, this makes paddle board ideally, a summer activity. 

However, this excludes the extreme adventurers that want to push the bounds of normality. Only some special humans are willing to long distance paddle board in freezing cold conditions. Most find paddle boarding in the summers as the more sensible and comfortable option.

Regardless of the conditions, both summers and winters can impose harm on the body. Where extreme winter situations carry the risks of frostbite, summers can put you under the threat of serious sunburn. Even though the sun exposure is something most people are looking forward towards, prolonged exposure can pave the way for drastic complications. 

Why Pale People Should be Extra Careful

The Western pale skin tone is most vulnerable to the exposure of the sun. An individual with a pale skin tone will lack a certain amount of melanin in their skin. Melanin is a natural pigment in the skin that people with richer skin tones possess more often. 

It also plays a part in the absorbing and dissipating UV rays that fall onto the skin. This makes people with darker skin stones more resistant to the harmful UV ray exposure. High intensity sun rays while paddle boarding can lead to alarming health concerns.  

What are UV rays?

The sun provides an abundance of energy that powers the planet and keeps most of our natural resources alive. It provides us with warmth, and divides our days into productive daytime and relaxing nighttime. 

It fills us with hope, enthusiasm accounts for a fun paddle boarding experience. However, like everything in the world, the sun is also not perfect. Sunrays, no matter how crucial, also provide a negative outcome. 

UV Rays are one such example of the disadvantage of the sun. What are UV rays and how are they distinctive from the common light rays that we experience? Well, the light that the sun provides is just a fragment of the electromagnetic spectrum of rays that surround us. 

Most of the light waves in the universe are invisible to the naked eye. In other words, visible light only makes up small part of the rays that enter the earth’s surface. Amongst all of these rays, a UV ray also makes it way from the sun, and beams onto your skin as an invisible entity on a hot sunny day. 

UV, or ultra violet rays are a part of the three radiations that rain down from the sun. Along the UV radiation, the visible light and infrared light are ones responsible for our sight and heat. Unlike light ray and infrared rays, you cannot see or feel their presence. 

The only way the UV waves make their presence is after the lasting negative effects on the body. The top most layer of our skin, or the epidermis, protects us from many external forces. Even the visible light that comes from the sun reflects the epidermis. 

However, some forms of the UV rays can penetrate into your skin and through the epidermis layer. This penetration of the UV rays into the skin exposes it to our DNA molecules. This exposure can be harmful, as it puts your DNA at risk of damage. 

Although a low level of damage may recover, but an overexposure to the UV rays can lead to potential damage that is hard for our body to recover. Therefore, this DNA damage can lead to many skin disorders, including inflammation, skin cancer, skin burns, and other. 

Furthermore, it can also cause your skin to develop wrinkles. Since the UV rays penetrate deep into the skin, it can disrupt the elasticity of the skin and lead to wrinkles. This makes you appear older than your age. 

Fortunately, you can find many ways that protect you from the overexposure of UV rays. One of the simpler ways is to limit your time under the harmful sunrays. Other ways include the use of helpful tools and accessories that provide you shade under the beaming sunrays. 

You can resort to certain clothing that is made of fiber that has UV protective layers. Moreover, headwear such as a wide hat also tends to help. The best measure that you can take for the protection of your skin form the UV rays is the application of sunscreen. 

The Importance of Sunscreen When Paddle Boarding

Sunscreen is crucial on a sunny afternoon while paddle boarding. Both darker and lighter skin tones need to apply sunscreen in preparation for paddle boarding adventures. Summertime has many craving for some fun in the sun.  

However, the excitement to dive in the waters should not have you forget about the importance of sunscreen. The overexposure of the sun can lead to sunburn, which ultimately will ruin your paddle boarding experience. 

Sunburn, or the painful redness that your skin undergoes, is your body’s response to the damaging effects of the sunlight.  Once your skin starts to damage, the body responds by sending a blood to the skin for recovery.  This is why your skin becomes increasingly red and feels warm when you touch it. 

The damaged area can also feel incredibly sore, and some of the skin will start to peel off. These are all signs of sunburn. There are many things that will affect whether you get a sunburn or not, while paddle boarding. 

Since sunburn is a very probable outcome, especially on a sunny afternoon, the easiest preventative measure you can do is wear sunscreen while paddle boarding. Sunscreens come in different variations, most common ones being a lotion, cream and spray. 

A sunscreen acts as a protective extra layer on top of your skin that keeps the harmful sunrays from getting into your skin. Most sunscreens work by either soaking up the harmful sunrays, similar to a sponge. While others tend to reflect them away from your skin. 

Most experts’ advice that you should put sunscreen on at least ten minutes before you head out into the waters to paddle board. Moreover, putting on plenty of sunscreen can do more good than harm; thus, do not be afraid to load up your skin by sunscreen. 

Make sure you do not miss spots that are generally hard to reach, like you back. Asking for assistance by a fellow paddle boarder can be worthwhile in the presence of the beaming sunlight. Most people tend to leave out certain places, such as behind your ears and the back of your neck. 

Moreover, once you have the sunscreen on when paddle boarding, you must do everything to keep it on. In fact, you should also put on more sunscreen after every few hours to make sure that the sunscreen does not wear off.  

Paddle boarding is a highly intense exercise. It requires a vast expenditure of energy, and rowing extensively under the sun produces plenty of sweat that trickles down to your face and cause the sunscreen to wear off.   

How to Choose the Best Sunscreen for Summer Paddle Boarding?

With the abundance of products available in the market, picking the right sunscreen becomes a difficult task. Picking one that will work best for you specifically involves keeping a few checks and balances. The first thing that you should check is the types of UV rays the sunscreen protects you from, which you can also call, the spectrum of activity. 

It is important to note that the 3 main types of UV rays are UV-A, B , and C rays. Each of these UV rays affects the skin differently. If you want to pick a sunscreen, make sure that it protects you from both, UV-A and UV-B. 

Sunscreens that protect you from both UV-A and UV-B have the label of “broad spectrum” So, if you find a sunscreen product that says “broad spectrum” and has a special UVA logo on it, this determines that it offers complete and sound sun protection, and this is what you generally want to purchase. 

 Another thing that you must look at is the sun protection factor or SPF rating of the sunscreen. Unfortunately, SPF does not tell you anything about the UVA protection of the sunscreen, instead, it is the UV-B protection of the coin. 

If the Sunscreen product has SPF-15 protection, this means that it protects about 93 percent of UV-B radiation. While SPF-30 blocks 97 percent and SPF-50 blocks 98 percent, which shows that there is not much difference between the SPF 30 and 50 protections. 

Therefore, any sunscreen that offers a broad-spectrum protection and is above the SPF 30 levels is a great choice. Keep in mind that the thickness of the sunscreen can relate to the SPF rating. The higher the SPF rating, the thicker the will be the sunscreen. 

You should also be wary of the ingredients in the sunscreen products. Sunscreens sue different ingredients to block UV lights. You can split these ingredients into two types, physical or organic and mineral sunscreens or organic sunscreens.

Both of these categories have their own pros and cons. Finding out some of the advantages and setbacks will help you decide better on which sunscreen is good for your skin. Physical sunscreens contain either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. 

Both of these compounds are stable and cannot pass through your skin. They stay set on your skin and cannot pass through even the upper layer of your skin. Some ingredients in the chemical sunscreen are safe for body application and absorb into your skin. 

Both titanium and zinc sunscreens offer broad spectrum of protection, with zinc doing a better job of UVA protection. Chemical sunscreens can also be broad spectrum, however, they need to combine a couple of different ingredients to achieve that. 

Physical sunscreens are better for people with sensitive skin, this could include people that have acne and other skin complications. Furthermore, children have immature skin that is more sensitive than other skin, which makes physical sunscreens the better option for children. 

If you are fortunate to not have sensitive skin, then either type of sunscreen can work, and thus, you can opt for the cheaper chemical sunscreens, if you want a value for money. Some sunscreen manufacturers are now combining both physical and chemical properties in to the sunscreen. 

Lastly, if you are paddle boarding, then you want to purchase a sunscreen product that is the formulation of a roll-on, aerosol sprays or lotions.  This is because they are easier to carry and you can find these products in compact packaging that can fit easily in your pocket when you are paddle boarding. These also allow you to get an even coating on your skin.

These steps can help you pick out a product that offers you the best results in terms of sun protection and paddle boarding experience. Apart from sunscreens, other tips also make for a safe and secure paddle boarding experience. 

Paddle Boarding Safety Tips

Don’t Forget the Leash

Ahead of sunscreens, one piece of equipment stands out as an important piece and that is a leash. A leash helps keep the board close to your if you fall in the water, and it also acts as a life supporting tool for staying afloat if the tides get dodgy.  

If you are not wearing, a leash while paddle boarding, then you can put you can put yourself in a lot of trouble. There are different types of leashes; however, overall, they serve the same purpose, which is to keep the lifesaving board attached to you. 

Most of the leashes have a Velcro at the end, which then attaches to the d-ring on the back of the board, and on the other end, you have a cuff, which generally attachés to your ankle. You can get straight ones or coiled ones. The advantage of the coiled leash is that it nicely sits on the top of your board. 

Other than an ankle leash, you have the options of a waist line leash, that come in handy when you  are paddle boarding on a more fast flowing and rapid water situation. 

Invest in a Floatation Device

PFD’s or personal floatation device can also be critical for paddle boarding safety and they come in many different shapes and sizes. The one that you are probably most likely to find is a life jacket.  However, a life jacket is the ideal option for paddle boarding, because it is very bulky and heavy. 

You cannot paddle board if your mobility is limited with a chunky and heavy life jacket. Therefore, a better option in terms of floatation device is a buoyancy aid or a floatation belt. These items are very similar to life jackets in terms of their functionality. 

The advantages of choosing these alternative options are that they provide you air to breathe so you do not feel hot when you wear it. Moreover, they are lighter in weight and more portable to carry around. 

Carry Sun Protection in a Portable Bag.

It is very important to carry a portable bag with you, for all the safety equipments and tools. The paddleboard has a strap in the front that allows you to store any material on the board, hence use that strap to take a bag that has sunscreen, your phone, water bottles and all the emergency supply kit.

A bag is especially important if you are venturing forward on the water for a long distance paddle tour. Make sure that the bag is waterproof to keep your essentials dry and safe. Phones help you to measure distance, notify people if you are in trouble, and other methods.

Know Your Surrounding

Before you begin paddle boarding at a particular location, make sure to do your research beforehand to plan and strategize your routes. You want to have a good idea about that location to ensure that there will be no complications of your paddle board adventures. 

Each location comes with its own weather risks, and policies. You can research by simply asking the local paddle board community within that area, or by simply browsing online. Find out the best weather conditions and launch locations to experience a safe paddle boarding venture.

Proper planning and risk assessment of the area can help you feeling more confident and safe on the water. You can also use your research to work out a smarter route and seek out shallower areas and boat channels to mitigate risks when paddle boarding. 

Planning and strategizing according to your skill level before you, paddle board keeps you away from any unnecessary risks

Create a Float Plan

A float plan refers to recording down where you will be paddle boarding, what time you will be on the water, what time you will be off the water. Therefore, if you were going to a paddle-boarding trip, creating a float plan would involve estimating the distance that you will cover, along with the speed at which you will paddle, and get a measurable answer of your time on the water. 

You can then provide this essential information to a friend or a family member that lives close by. Then you can arrange with them to give you a call when you are off the water. If in any case you are stuck somewhere, and are unable to call them at the specific time, this will indicate emergency and investigate further. 

Keep a 360 Awareness

When you are out paddle boarding, you can be so lost in enjoyment and bliss that you will forget to keep an eye on the hazards that may be surrounding you. These hazards can be in the form of the conditions, water tides and other moving and interchanging variables. 

You must keep a keen eye on these variables because it will impact your paddle boarding experience and safety.  One way to do this is to keep a beeper that beeps after every hour. This can be your reminder, or indicator that you have to check the surroundings.

Keep a check on the raising winds, changing tides, clouds formations, boats or any other threats. Keeping an eye of these environmental factors helps identify if the weather is beginning to get sketchy. You can use other indicators such as the switch in your paddle, or even a water break. 

Keeping an all-rounded check on all of these factors will be vital to keeping safe on the water. Moreover, keep in mind that paddle boarding is highly dependent on the wind and this is why checking weather forecast is so crucial for safety before you paddle. 

Know your skill level and make judgment on whether you can cope with the wind status of where you are paddle boarding.

To Conclude

Standup paddle boarding is an immense amount of fun. However, it can also put you dangerously close nature’s elements, such as wind, water and sun. These elements, although essential, can also put you under severe risk of safety if you do not take controllable measures. You have to use vital tools such as sunscreen, and other equipments that account for a safe paddle board experience. 

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