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.

Recommended for You

Here are step-by-step instructions for tying the Strong Arm Merkin fly. Fly Tying

Tying the Strong Arm Merkin

David W. Skok - July 09, 2019

Here are step-by-step instructions for tying the Strong Arm Merkin fly.

Modern methods for catching smallmouths on topwater flies. Bass

How to Catch Smallmouth Bass on Topwater Flies

Dave Karczynski and Tim Landwehr

Modern methods for catching smallmouths on topwater flies.

These dense, indestructible nymphs will improve your subsurface game. Fly Tying

Perdigon Nymph

Charlie Craven - January 15, 2019

These dense, indestructible nymphs will improve your subsurface game.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Fly Fishing for Taimen in Mongolia

Fly Fishing for Taimen in Mongolia

Finding giant Mongolia taimen and a state of enlightenment.

Bahamas - Bonefish

Bahamas - Bonefish

Conway casts for his personal best bonefish while fishing the Grand Bahama islands.

Casting Backhand in Tight Quarters

Casting Backhand in Tight Quarters

A backhand cast is when you use your backcast to deliver the fly.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Fly-Fisherman Editor Ross Purnell shares his top five best trout fishing destinations in the world. Worldwide

5 Best Trout Fishing Spots in the World

Ross Purnell, Editor

Fly-Fisherman Editor Ross Purnell shares his top five best trout fishing destinations in the...

Best Panfish Flies Fly Tying

Best Panfish Flies

Skip Morris - October 17, 2016

Best Panfish Flies

American River California United States

American River California

MIchael Wier - March 23, 2017

American River California

See More Stories

More Industry

The U.S. National Fly Fishing Championships are slated to be held May 30th through June 2nd, and this year's host city will be Bend, Oregon. Industry

U.S. National Fly Fishing Championships

Jonathan Wright - May 09, 2018

The U.S. National Fly Fishing Championships are slated to be held May 30th through June 2nd,...

Fly Fisherman's documentary Industry

Fly Fisherman Magazine Documentary Recognized by Outdoor Writers Association of America

Fly Fisherman - June 24, 2019

Fly Fisherman's documentary "One Path" was recognized with two awards.

It began with love of a river that he fished as a boy with his father, and a passion for the sport that still endures today. Industry

Abe's Fly Shop Turns 60

Jay Walden - February 22, 2019

It began with love of a river that he fished as a boy with his father, and a passion for the...

See More Industry

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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