As a diver, we expose ourselves to many hazards, and most of those are clearly explained by dive operators and scuba instructors. However, one hazard that is often overlooked is sun exposure. The most immediate danger of too much sun exposure is sunburn. With repeated sun damage, skin begins to appear dry and leathery and will bruise more easily. The most serious hazard of overexposure to the sun’s UV rays is skin cancer.
According to the CDC, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, and most cases of melanoma, the deadliest kind, are caused by exposure to UV light.
To lower your risk:
Stay in the shade as much as possible, especially between 10 am and 4 pm.
Use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 that provides both UVA and UVB protection.
Apply sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before going outdoors
Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, even if it is labeled “all-day”
Who should use sunscreen?
Everyone, even children as young as 6 months
Remember that some sunscreens contain ingredients that can cause skin irritations, avoid fragrances and harsh chemicals to help if you have sensitive skin.
As divers, the environment takes a very high priority, and there are many sunscreen manufacturers out there making products with very low environmental impact. Reef Safe offers several such products that are biodegradable and non-toxic to sea life.