Skip to main content

Myth-Busting: Sun Exposure Dangers

Sun-Myth

Here are some commonly held beliefs about sun protection, which are shared by many anglers. Only problem is, they're false. Knowing when to call foul when you hear them can make for a safer day on the water for everyone.

Myth #1: Sunscreen is a once-and-done deal

Myth: When you wake up and head out, sunscreen is like clothing: you wear it and forget it. As long as you remember to slather yourself in the morning, you'll be good all day.


Truth: While sunscreens with a higher SPF are, in theory, designed to protect your skin for a longer period of time, that's just in theory. The truth is you need to reapply your sunscreen every two hours while in the sun. An easy way to remember is to only think of whether the time you're putting it on is an even or odd hour of the day (one or two?), then all you'll have to remember is even or odd. If you apply at noon, which is an even hour, you should be slathering on some sunscreen at even hours for the rest of the time you're on the water.


Myth #2: If it's cloudy you're fine

Myth: If it's a gray and gloomy day, there's no way any sun is getting to your skin, so you're fine!

Truth: As many as 80 percent of the sun's rays can come through cloud cover. Think of this another way: that cloud is only blocking 20 percent of the UV rays that are coming down, so while you might not have to squint, your skin isn't getting a break. We often associate sun exposure with those cloudless bluebird days where you're burnt to a crisp, but to think those are the only days you're at danger is nonsense. Think about it this way: anyone who winds up with skin cancer has likely spent a good deal of time outdoors. How many days are the kind of cloudless, bluebird days most of us associate with sunburns and skin cancer? Exactly. If the sun is endangering your life, it is doing it through cloud cover, clothing and everything but consistently reapplied sunscreen.

Happy-Hump-Day


Myth #3: Only fair-skinned people are really at risk for skin cancer

Myth: Sure, your Irish and German friends need to lather up with sunscreen, but if you're darker skinned, you'll never get skin cancer.

Truth: In truth, darker skinned people, although they're less likely to be burnt in a traditional sense, have a higher likelihood of dying from a skin cancer if they do contract it. That doesn't sound like a safe bet to anybody.


Myth #4: It takes a lifetime of tanning to get skin cancer

Myth: A person would have to spend years and years laying in the sun or being outdoors for UV rays to cause cancer in his or her body. If you're only in your 20s, you can spend plenty of time in the sun left before you need to worry.

Truth: Melanoma is one of the most common cancers in young adults, according to the Melanoma Research Foundation [add link here]. Prolonged sun exposure, no matter your age, puts you in greater danger every time you expose yourself to the sun unprotected.

Myth #5: The scent of sunscreen on a lure will deter fishsunscreenscent

Myth: If I have sunscreen on my hands and handle a lure, it's a sure fish-deterrent.

Truth: Whether or not you think that an unnatural smell on a lure will deter fish isn't terribly important here. Think about this: when you wash your hands, do you use soap? When you put gas in your car or boat do you use gloves? When you grabbed that sandwich did you use a napkin? The truth about our hands is that in all likelihood they smell like€¦ human hands and anything that they're dipped into. If you want them to smell like bait, by all means rinse them in the bait bucket between casts, after you put on sunscreen.

From the author: Skin cancers, like melanoma, have reached epidemic proportions and few people are at a greater risk than anglers. Skin cancers kill more people than all other types of cancers combined. Most skin cancers can be prevented by taking care outdoors and using the right Sun Safe Gear.

After losing my father to skin cancer, I've become determined to make a difference in his memory. That's why I'm fishing my way around Florida to raise awareness, and with the help of the folks at Buff and the online editors at Florida Sportsman, In-Fisherman, Fly Fisherman, and Game & Fish Magazine, raise as many dollars as I can for the Melanoma Research Foundation. Follow the journey on my blog, FishingRick, and through a Facebook page where I'll share more updates.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity

SIMMS Flyweight Wader

SIMMS Flyweight Wader

A Hex Grid chest panel allows users to affix other components such as pack vest, nest holster, bottle holster, or bear spray.

George Daniels Hauling Tuck Cast

George Daniels Hauling Tuck Cast

George Daniels Hauling Tuck Cast

RIO Slickcast Fly Lines

RIO Slickcast Fly Lines

Chris Walker, with RIO Products, talks with Editor/Publisher Ross Purnell of Fly Fisherman magazine about the new SlickCast lineup of fly lines for 2020.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

As you explore your home water, keep in mind what they are eating to select the best carp flies!The 15 Best Carp Flies Flies

The 15 Best Carp Flies

Jay Zimmerman

As you explore your home water, keep in mind what they are eating to select the best carp...

Fish are cold-blooded, so their body temperature reflects that of the water in which they swim.Temps for Trout: How to Catch Fish that Behave Hot n Cold Trout

Temps for Trout: How to Catch Fish that Behave Hot n Cold

Hilary Hutcheson - July 15, 2020

Fish are cold-blooded, so their body temperature reflects that of the water in which they swim.

You can be a successful freshwater fly fisher with just the nine knots shown here.9 Best Fly Fishing Knots You Should Know Beginners

9 Best Fly Fishing Knots You Should Know

Fly Fisherman Staff | Illustrations by Joe Mahler

You can be a successful freshwater fly fisher with just the nine knots shown here.

See More Trending Articles

More Industry

Yakutia Airlines has recently announced it will not operate its Anchorage-to-Petropavlovsk route in 2019.Update on Travel to Kamchatka Industry

Update on Travel to Kamchatka

Ross Purnell - December 05, 2018

Yakutia Airlines has recently announced it will not operate its Anchorage-to-Petropavlovsk...

Cast your nominations for the 2021 Conservationist of the Year.2021 Conservationist of the Year Industry

2021 Conservationist of the Year

Fly Fisherman - April 14, 2020

Cast your nominations for the 2021 Conservationist of the Year.

Guide Beer first went on sale in March 2019.Guide Beer Grant Industry

Guide Beer Grant

Ross Purnell - January 23, 2020

Guide Beer first went on sale in March 2019.

New, alternative ways to connect with the community during a time of crisis.Orvis Introduces 'Virtual Casting Instruction' Industry

Orvis Introduces 'Virtual Casting Instruction'

Fly-Fisherman Staff - September 17, 2020

New, alternative ways to connect with the community during a time of crisis.

See More Industry

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Fly Fisherman App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Fly Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now