Nothing beats being out on the water during the summer—especially for boat owners. Those planning to spend a significant amount of time in their boats while the weather is warm should know how to practice sun safety. The risk of UV overexposure is substantially higher in the water than in other environments. To help make boating excursions safer and more enjoyable, Dermatology Associates discusses potential threats to skin health while boating and how to prevent them.
Understanding UV Rays
Ultraviolet radiation (UV) is a form of energy that the sun naturally emits. It is also found in tanning equipment and black lights. Minimal exposure to UV rays will likely not cause skin conditions, but overexposure can lead to sunburn, wrinkles, sun spots, premature skin aging, and other serious health issues. It also increases the lifetime risk for skin cancer, particularly in children.
Three main types of UV rays exist—ultraviolet A, ultraviolet B, and ultraviolet C. Each affects the skin differently and causes varying levels of skin damage. Distinguishing between rays makes people better prepared to protect themselves while boating. These UV rays impact the skin in the following ways:
- Ultraviolet A: UVA rays persist all year long and accelerate skin cell aging, leading to wrinkles, sun spots, and cancer. They can pass through clouds and glass, explaining why some people sunburn on cloudy days or while driving all day.
- Ultraviolet B: UVB rays cause many skin cancers and can damage the top layer of the skin within 15 minutes of exposure. Although stronger than UVA rays, their strength alters based on the time of day and season.
- Ultraviolet C: UVC is of least concern to people since its natural emission from the sun cannot go through the skin. It mostly affects people who perform welding tasks.
A term often used in conjunction with UV rays is the UV index. This tool measures the risk for sun exposure on a given day. If the UV index is one or two, a person may be able to be outside with just a little sunscreen without facing overexposure. However, if the index exceeds 10, they are better off staying indoors.
Eye Sensitivity While Boating
Besides the skin, overexposure to sunlight can also cause harm to the eyes. When UV rays hit a reflective surface, they reflect out into the atmosphere. Since the water is reflective, spending time on a boat without the proper eye protection can lead to various eye conditions, such as cataracts. This issue is a bigger concern for people with photophobia, or extreme sensitivity to light.
Strategies for Protecting Oneself on the Water
Using sunscreen is one of the most effective methods for protecting the skin while boating. When shopping for sunscreen, look at the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) number and whether or not it is broad-spectrum. The SPF number denotes the amount of time it will take for sunburn to occur when using the sunscreen versus using none. In other words, 50 SPF means it will take 50 times longer to experience sunburn. Broad-spectrum means the product offers protection against UVA and UVB rays.
Make sure to apply sunscreen for 15 minutes to a half an hour before heading outside to give it time to sink into the skin. Approximately one ounce is sufficient for each application. Reapplication is recommended every two hours or directly after swimming or sweating. A water-resistant option can provide more protection even if the person gets wet.
People may be inclined to wear a bathing suit while on their boats, but doing so for many hours leaves the skin unnecessarily exposed. After swimming, change into a lightweight long-sleeved shirt and pants. To guard the face, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
H2: Attain High-Quality Skin Care Services
These tips will help people stay protected while boating, but those concerned about their exposure to the sun on past boating trips can reach out to Dermatology Associates in Fayetteville, New York. The experienced staff has served patients throughout Central NY since 2008, providing medical dermatology, surgical dermatology, and aesthetics using state-of-the-art procedures.
At Dermatology Associates, patients receive comprehensive skin care and personalized treatment plans that meet their unique needs. Contact the office to learn more about dermatology care or request an appointment today.