Exposure to UV radiation is the main cause of the most common forms of skin cancer. Surfers can be ‘sun smart’ by simply taking some precautions to protect their skin: 

  • Protect your skin with clothing, and remember to wear a hat that protects your face, neck and ears, and a pair of UV protective sunglasses.
  • Stay in the shade at peak UV radiation exposure times, typically between 11am and 3pm when it is sunny in Northern hemisphere locations. Step out of the sun before your skin has a chance to redden or burn. 
  • Apply plenty of broad-spectrum, water-resistant, SPF 30 or higher sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going out into the sun, and reapply frequently throughout the day and straight after coming out of the water and drying off with a towel.
  • Remember, sunscreens should not be used as an alternative to clothing and shade, rather they offer additional protection. No sunscreen will provide 100% protection.
  • Consider purchasing UV protective beach wear (i.e. boardshorts, rash vest, surf hat, etc.) which can particularly assist in protecting your skin.

Answered by Alex Kelleher, MD

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