Understanding Sun Protection

Understanding Sun Protection

The sun could be a dangerous beast. This guide explains some gear and the tech that protects you from that beast.

If you are going to be in the sun all day having some sun protection is important. It can go beyond just sunblock. UV rays can also cause damage to your eyes. Here are some good items to have for sun protection:

rash guards

These started to simply protect the skin from rashes as the name implies. They have evolved now to have a built in SPF also which protects your skin from the sun. Usually made from spandex, nylon or polyester for their quick drying capabilities.  You can get them in short sleeve and long sleeve. It is personal preference based on weather and the amount of sun protection desired.

Originally rash guards were designed to fit very snug. This is so they would stay in place while surfing. Many brands now make what are called swim shirts or t-shirt style rash guards. These are looser fitting and used mainly for sun protection.


Every wants to be out in the sun having fun but getting skin cancer is no fun. Applying sun screen regularly can help reduce the risk by 80%! For that reason we are a big fan of sun screen. Most of what we do involves being on the water or snow which the reflecting can increase the VU radiation by up to 50%. This makes it even more crucial to wear sun protection.

When shopping for sunblock you will see the SPF rating. This stands for sun protection factor and refers to the theoretical time you could be in the sun without getting burnt. For example, SPF 15 means you could stay in the sun 15x longer than how fast you would get burnt with no sunblock at all. This can vary though depending on the quality of the sun protection, sweat and water exposure.

It is important to be sure you find a sunblock that protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. A high quality brand such as Sun Bum will protect you from both. When out in the sun don’t forget about your lips! Lip balm with SPF built helps protect your lips from harmful rays.


Eyeballs need protection too. If you are going to be in the sun you want to have a quality pair of sunglasses. The $3.99 special often offers not UVA or UVB protection. Once you find a quality brand that provides this protection you will find they often make polarized and non-polarized versions of their sunglasses. Here is a breakdown of the two:

Non Polarized

These are often cheaper than polarized shades. Polarized lenses can also make it more difficult to see the contour of the terrain ahead for some people.


These gives your eyes better protection. They filter the light more effectively by providing antiglare. This can help make water sports and driving easier. They are often more expensive though.

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