Tips for Protecting Your Skin from the Sun While Hiking

Categories:Health and Hygene | Hiking Advice

On a crisp, cool morning, watching the first rays of sun cascade down the mountain and then feeling the warm rays hit your cold skin is one of the most enjoyable things about hiking in the great outdoors. The sun warms you up, boosts your spirits and gives you direction. But, those welcoming rays of sunlight can also be one of the most brutal outdoor dangers if you aren’t prepared. With appropriate gear, some planning and a bit of common sense can keep you safe from the sun.

Sun Problems

Sun exposure can cause a variety of issues for hikers. Prolonged or intense sun exposure can cause:

Sun Burn – The sun’s rays can cause first and second-degree burns, which can be extremely painful if the burn is located on the shoulders where backpack straps rub.

Chapped Lips – Dry, cracking and splitting lips can cause intense discomfort.

Snow Blindness – When your eyes are over-exposed to the sun, they can actually become sunburnt, especially on terrain such as snow, desert conditions or on a bright ground cover.

Skin Cancer – Repeated or extended sun exposure can damage skin and cause cancerous growths.

Wrinkly Leathery Skin – Over-exposure to the sun causes dry skin and leads to premature extended exposure dries wrinkling and aging.

Sun Protection and Prevention

Obviously, staying in the shade is the best way to limit exposure to dangerous radiation from the sun, but there are many other ways to protect your body from the damaging effects of the sun while preventing discomfort, injury, and disease. Amway’s blog offers research-backed tips for skincare prep:

Sunglasses – Shielding your eyes from UV rays is important when hiking. Look for sunglasses that offer 100 percent UV protection and have side blinders or wrap around your temples for the most protection.

Appropriate clothing – If hiking on snow or bright ground cover, reflected sunlight can burn your face and neck. Keep your scalp, neck, and face protected with a wide-brimmed hat that features a neck cape. Wear a light-colored lightweight long-sleeve shirt that will protect your arms, shoulders, and back. The light color will protect from the sun, deflect heat and allow perspiration to evaporate. Look for specialty fabrics that offer UV protection. Wear lightweight long pants such as nylon to protect legs.

Shade – Invest in a quick-flip pop-up shade to provide cover when taking a break or resting from hiking. Look for a stationary shelter or umbrella to get out of the sun quickly.

Sunscreen – Always carry a maximum protection sunscreen in spray or lotion form to protect skin from damaging sun rays, and remember to reapply it frequently throughout the day and after swimming. Remember that cloud cover provides no protection for UVB and UVA rays, so apply sunscreen even on the most overcast days. Look for products that offer at least an SPF factor of 30.

By keeping yourself protected against harmful sun rays you’ll be able to enjoy the outdoors longer and avoid causing problems that will make hiking difficult.

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