5

votes

Best options for sunscreen when surfing?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created May 31, 2010 at 6:41 PM

Hi PaleoHackers,

I need the smartest and most well-informed amongst you to help me out. For times when I will be spending extended periods of time (1.5 hours) under the full brunt of the sun (for example, surfing) and cannot go without sunscreen -- which brand do you recommend and why?

I personally like to use Bullfrog because of its formulation that allows it go on quick and dry quickly. Not to mention it is water-proof.

It is by far the most handy sunscreen on the market -- but is it the healthiest? I dunno.

Sock it to me and have a great Memorial Day!


PS I guess I should be clear on what I am asking. I am less concerned about just shielding myself from the sun, than I am about potentially dangerous interactions between the compounds in the sunscreen, the sun and my skin. i.e. Do I want to be absorbing oxybenzone into my skin?

PPS As much as I'd love to go without sunscreen, I can only do so for about 30 to 45 mins or I risk a severe burn. Aside from the the sun directly overhead, there is plenty of radiation reflected from the water too.

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on December 24, 2010
at 12:47 AM

There's a significant amount of evidence that extracts of Polypodium leucotomos can act as an internal sunscreen. It's a fern from Central America. Google Scholar or Pubmed it... it's commercially available.. at outrageous prices though.

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on December 24, 2010
at 12:35 AM

This is somewhat true for most American sunscreens. The SPF rating system only takes UV-B protection into account, which causes sunburns. Hower, Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide are broad spectrum, and thus block UV-A rays as well. Only a couple organic sunscreen actives are able to do this, and they all have safety problems.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7304)

on November 29, 2010
at 10:30 PM

I have this problem too. I'm irish and I play tennis outside for 5+ hours. Still haven't found a solution i'm completely happy with

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 05, 2010
at 03:24 AM

Steph, some light skinned people simply cannot build up enough tan to not burn after intensive exposure. In the paleo times, those people would all live where it was cloudy. But in the current world, they live all over and some of them like to go surfing!

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 05, 2010
at 03:20 AM

Yeah, I have the same issue for snorkeling. It takes a while to build up a tan and in the beginning of summer, I need some sunscreen on my lilly white backside.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on June 01, 2010
at 10:29 PM

@TPSW --- I think that eating Paleo HAS made me less susceptible to sunburn.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on June 01, 2010
at 10:29 PM

@Matthew -- Southern California -- I am not really pale like a Northern European might be, but am of Central European genetic stock. I don't know how to characterize my skin color.

3f61ba25dff05b513c7769a22408169a

on June 01, 2010
at 02:49 PM

Thank you Patrik for posting this question. As a fellow surfer with the same problems and in the past using the same Bullfrog solution (although nothing actually stays on for long enough in the surf). I would like to further ask about what, in addition to D, would be advisable supplements to help protect from the inside out? I have heard some about krill oil and coconut oil, does anyone have any evidence, even if it is anecdotal, about this?

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on June 01, 2010
at 10:22 AM

How pale is your skin and where are you living?

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on June 01, 2010
at 04:03 AM

@Earl Cannonbear I can go without sunscreen for about 30 mins or so -- but after that I will burn. I like to stay in the water for at least an hour and half.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on June 01, 2010
at 04:02 AM

@LiveForIt -- no way. I love surfing during the summer without a wetsuit. No way am I gonna put on anything else.

5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on May 31, 2010
at 10:59 PM

And wrinkles are a problem because...? I *earned* mine! :-)

5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on May 31, 2010
at 10:59 PM

*"I need the smartest and most well-informed amongst you..."* - Well, that leaves me out! :-)

B3c0950cd33bf7689ca0b98e5f2b6cdc

(588)

on May 31, 2010
at 10:39 PM

"They also had sufficient vitamin D and a lifetime of melanin base." And certainly were quite wrinkly ....

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on May 31, 2010
at 08:37 PM

They also had sufficient vitamin D and a lifetime of melanin base...

1340fe0b7e7b01683ea33042092e05d6

(1693)

on May 31, 2010
at 06:47 PM

Could you minimize the amount of sunscreen you'd have to use and wear a body suit while surfing?

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13 Answers

0
07c86972a3bea0b0dc17752e9d2f5642

on December 23, 2010
at 11:21 PM

From what I understand about sunscreen, it's use only prevents sunburn and doesn't actually prevent deadly skin cancers at all. And in fact, using it can raise risk of skin cancer because it prevents the body's natural warning system to get out of the sun. My advice would be to stay out of the intense mid-day sun as much as possible, and wear sleeves and a hat in addition to your sunscreen when you want to prevent a bad burn.

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on December 24, 2010
at 12:35 AM

This is somewhat true for most American sunscreens. The SPF rating system only takes UV-B protection into account, which causes sunburns. Hower, Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide are broad spectrum, and thus block UV-A rays as well. Only a couple organic sunscreen actives are able to do this, and they all have safety problems.

0
902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on December 23, 2010
at 11:01 PM

Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are the active ingredients you need to look for. They act as purely physical sunblock ingredients, and are totally nontoxic. They are considered to have zero risk of causing skin irritation as well. Try to make sure the minerals are not "micronized" - this might lead to penetration, with unknown consequences. If the sunscreen leaves a bit of a white cast on your skin... it's probably not micronized.

All organic sunscreens have a smorgasbord of issues surrounding them, all of which need more research.

0
286a4ff7c362241c5c4b020df4972212

on December 23, 2010
at 10:27 PM

I suppose Zinc might be the answer you are looking for - its purely a physical barrier to the sun and does not change the skins ability to absorb UVB A rays ???

0
655d884d3815063d001642a370ef0154

on December 23, 2010
at 10:25 PM

this isn't 'paleo' but I don't think you're going to find such a thing as an SPF15+ sunscreen one could call 'paleo'

so if I were you I'd check out GoodGuide, which lists products according to their general 'health' scores across a bunch of factors:

http://www.goodguide.com/products?filter=Sunscreen%20SPF%2015%20And%20Above&category_id[]=152766]

0
Ce57a94251224f9696faf47f9ca630a0

(858)

on December 23, 2010
at 09:42 PM

I don't have a lot of help with sunscreen proper, as I am lily white and tend to monitor my time in the sun, but make sure you take lots of vitamin D3. It totally helps. My brother, who is a redhead hasn't used sunscreen in years, is Paleo, and takes tons of the stuff.

That's all I got.

0
B294438548c32ed878905baf6cd1b332

on December 23, 2010
at 09:39 PM

I live in Arizona, and my Mediterranean complexion gives me a little extra protection. I can build a fairly dark tan in summer. However, when I want to be outside for very long periods, I go with clothing that covers me up. And hats.

Here's an example: http://www.coolibar.com/men-s-swimwear.html

0
7d84661552e11e36b925bc7e1f933a0b

on November 29, 2010
at 07:35 PM

Paleolithic hunters probably avoided the sun between 10-2, just like most animals do. Viva la siesta! I use Watermans sunscreen www.watermansappliedscience.com. The SPF33 is oxybenzone free. Paleolithic humans also didn't have to deal with our current ozone issues either! Lucky bastards.

0
1dd1d4bde5b46b4c90efeadea3a96a75

(180)

on August 05, 2010
at 02:14 AM

  • Supplement Vitamin D

  • Slowly increase your time in the sun

  • Apply coconut oil which has equivalent SPF 5

  • Apply topical vitamin C. You can make a solution at home, although it will only last a few days. This reduces burning an average of 22% in tests.

I naturally burn badly, but following these steps I haven't burned in 4 years. I currently live in Mexico (constant sun), never burned. That being said I am careful with my time in the sun as I'm sure our ancestors were conscious of this or had darker skin. Unless you build up a really good tan I would suggest zinc oxide on the most sensitive areas as well.

0
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on June 01, 2010
at 01:48 AM

I recommend Vitamin D and working up your base and going natural

here's a link to "natural sunscreens" if you must http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/natural-sunscreens-460608

previous to paleo I used zinc oxide personally and was using it only on sensitive areas like my nose.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 05, 2010
at 03:24 AM

Steph, some light skinned people simply cannot build up enough tan to not burn after intensive exposure. In the paleo times, those people would all live where it was cloudy. But in the current world, they live all over and some of them like to go surfing!

0
08ce57b1bbb3bda8e384234389c36d94

on May 31, 2010
at 07:35 PM

Why can't you go without sunscreen? Paleolithic hunters spent their entire lives outdoors battling the elements without the need to smother themselves in girly-man lotions.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on May 31, 2010
at 08:37 PM

They also had sufficient vitamin D and a lifetime of melanin base...

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on June 01, 2010
at 04:03 AM

@Earl Cannonbear I can go without sunscreen for about 30 mins or so -- but after that I will burn. I like to stay in the water for at least an hour and half.

B3c0950cd33bf7689ca0b98e5f2b6cdc

(588)

on May 31, 2010
at 10:39 PM

"They also had sufficient vitamin D and a lifetime of melanin base." And certainly were quite wrinkly ....

5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on May 31, 2010
at 10:59 PM

And wrinkles are a problem because...? I *earned* mine! :-)

-3
8ecb07fa330df155dc19add18b05a17e

(-6)

on December 05, 2010
at 07:15 AM

An old paleolithic human was about 25 years old, but most died much younger; they had more immediate problems.

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