Gear · Hiking Gear

Keeping Up On Skin Safety As The Seasons Change

A recent package of sunscreen we received for reviewing picked Kirk’s attention. Coppertone Sport® is has been his choice of sunscreen for the past couple of years and they had sent us:

Coppertone Sport® 80 SPF Ultra Sweatproof lotion:

Coppertone Sport® 70 SPF Continuous Spray®:

Kirk has extremely pale skin and is a red head. Growing up he was either shaded when playing or “greased up”. He doesn’t tan – it is either white or red – and thankfully avoided most burns growing up. In the winter of 2002/2003 after moving out West he got a bad burn (for dark haired types it would have been a nice tan). I rarely burn and often carry a year round tan. I see sunlight and darken so for me while out in the fall and winter I never thought twice. We went snowshoeing in the Mt. Baker area well above 5,000 feet on a cloudy morning. On snow. And then the cloud cover burnt off during our trek. He burned bad. It hadn’t occurred to me to even worry….as I said I don’t burn often. Kirk wasn’t used to being at altitude and didn’t realize how altitude/cloudy/snow compounded it quickly. I remember trying to find aloe vera late that night to treat his face in a small town.

Photo of Sarah happy on all that blinding snow! We’d have shown Kirk’s photo but we didn’t want to blind our readers with all the white skin!

In summer of 2008 I noticed that Kirk had an area not healing and he went to the Doctor who sent him onto a specialist. Kirk had his first skin cancer removed at the age of 35. He was ‘lucky’ and fortunately it was ‘only’ Basal Cell Carcinoma. Needless to say the removal was horrid: cutting, cauterizing and stitching. The biopsy was also pretty bad to go through beforehand.

Kirk still has a crescent scar on his face that while it has faded some, still remains red and raised. We call it his “bar fight souvenir” as a joke. More manly than saying “skin cancer”. His chances of having more of it are quite high so I check him often and we don’t worry about being a pest to the Doctor to look at any skin changes.

He is very careful and slathers on sunscreen aplenty. It has changed me as well. Since then I have tried to be better about wearing it as well. What turned me off from sunscreen use growing up was the smell, how greasy it was and that it caused my skin to burn and itch. It is the same reason why I don’t wear bug repellent – most of these products cause me to have hive like itching/swelling.

Kirk had started using the Coppertone Sport® in 50 SPF after the surgery and finally I caved and tried it last year. And found out why he loved it:

  • It doesn’t stink. The scent is very, very mild. No skin itching and I can use it on my face – and the babies as well.
  • It isn’t greasy. It goes on smoothly, and quickly it is dry. You don’t feel it hanging on your skin, like a layer of pancake makeup.
  • It is waterproof. REALLY waterproof. Sweat proof even. For 80 minutes or even longer. That means it isn’t running into your eyes and causing you to scream in pain while you are trying to take in a sweet vista.
  • Even the bottle’s design is aimed at the active person with a no-slip grip and molded finger areas so you don’t drop it. It is sturdy to handle being in a car or backpack as well.
  • Broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection
  • The Continuous Spray® version you can actually spray from any angle. Coat your legs and arms without ever getting it on your hands. Easy to spray the back of necks, shoulders, back of knees.It goes on clear and needs no rubbing in. Just spray and let dry, which it does in a snap.
  • It can be found in backpack friendly 1 ounce travel tubes as well over at Minimus. I carry one in my purse and one in my day pack.

I prefer the spray. It is so easy to use that I don’t have an excuse to “forget” to put it on. That and I can put it on my hair as well, something that really helps my hair look great by end of summer due to my habit of wearing only a visor while hiking in alpine. Kirk and Ford stick with the lotion usually. With Walker now 6 months old we are starting a lifetime of wearing sunscreen. He is fair skinned like Daddy with reddish hair – if we don’t protect him now he could well end up with skin issues at a much younger age than Kirk did.

Fall might not be the time of year when one thinks about the sun and UVA/UVB rays, it is easier to think about how crisp and cold it is instead but the truth is we need to think about it year round. Even for those of us who live in places that are often not sunny! Those clouded over days can be worse than sunny ones and often we are out in the middle of the day when it is strongest due to the shorter days. Especially with snowshoeing season coming up soon (hello La Nina year!)

And if you ever notice a scab area on your body that never quite heals and scabs yet again? Please go get checked!!!! Skin care is so important!


3 thoughts on “Keeping Up On Skin Safety As The Seasons Change

  1. Kaiser has sliced a couple of chunks off my face. The best after-surgery treatment is to keep the area moisturized with Vaseline or something similar. I have found that the site will heal with little or no scarring.

    I have been using the Aloe Gator SPF 40 gel. It’s greasy, but it’s sweat-proof. I spend a lot of time out in the wind and the wind chap is almost worse than a sunburn. The Aloe Gator product is the only thing I’ve found so far that also protects against the wind chap.

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