Jun 16, 2011, 9:59 AM
Post #34 of 37
Submitted by Texan Shannon Bush, active Etchells skipper:
Re: [The Publisher] Sunscreen for sailing
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People have always made fun of my white face, but, when they find out why, all the laughing stops (full story below). I have been wearing sunscreen since I was about 5 or 6 years old and I have worn just about all of them available in the USA, some with disastrous results and some that actually worked, then they took it off the market because it killed a rat.
However, in the past few years, I have had a wide range of sailing rock stars come up to me and ask me for some sunscreen, saying I always have the best stuff! Whatever it takes to get you to put it on, I say. I hand stuff out like candy now and the white face is not as odd as it once was.
I have two sunscreen regimens: daily and race day. Both start in the morning after brushing the teeth.
Daily, I put on Neutrogena Ultra Sheer 55 with Helioplex. It dries clear and doesn't leave a greasy film or gloss on my skin. I am good to go for most of the day (driving carpool, running Super Mom errands, etc) as long as the sun exposure is at a minimum.
If it is a race day, the first layer is Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby 60+ with Purescreen. It is thicker and dries with a white hue. As soon as I am on the boat, I hit my face, neck and ears again with a new product I found (thank you Ed Furry) called California Baby, SPF 30 (found at Target and a few other places; look on-line). This is a super cool product that comes both in a lotion AND a stick (won't get all over your hands - I have both on board) and it had both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The lotion dries clear, but the stick stays white. The cool thing about the stick is that the sunscreen is very tacky and doesn't easily rub or sweat off. I whip the stick out about every hour and a half. If I "feel" the sun through these layers, I will go straight to the original zinc oxide (10% zinc, which I can only find the real deal at mom & pop drug stores now) or Zinka (25% zinc) which is a California company known for making Andre Agassi colored zinc back in the 1980's. This stuff is pasty and stays put...and doesn't taste too bad, either!
It's all about re-application and what you feel comfortable with. There are always people who say that too much zinc is bad for you. Well, so is a 4" scar on my cheek! My mantra is that, after all my surgery and the recent burning off my entire lower lip (thank you Dr Calvin Day!), if I can't see it on my face, it isn’t there!
So what prompted the diligence... read on:
I started having stuff burned off my face (just below where the sunglasses arms are on both sides) at 17. Mind you, I have already been wearing lots of sunscreen by this time, including the zinc from ear to ear (just over the nose, no chin). Then, I started having places on my lower lip and jaw and forearms. Four years ago, I found a clear spot on my jaw line, and then when I picked at it (thinking it was food or something!), it stung like a match burn and wouldn't stop bleeding.
I went in and ended up with a 1" scar needing eight stitches. Eight months later, the wound hadn't healed, so I went in and the same doctor said she didn't get it all out. I went to a plastic surgeon that specializes in the MOHS system and he cut my cheek wide open, resulting in the removal of the melanoma and leaving me with a thin 4" scar with 78 stitches. This prompted the full-on white out on my face.
Last December, as part of my three month visit to the dermatologist (every 6 mos I get a full body scan that is quite thorough, I can assure you!), he said my lower lip concerned him. Without really telling me what he was going to do, and with no numbing agent, he burned off the skin on my entire lower lip, inside and out. The pain is indescribable and the look was disgusting. It's all been worth it, though, to KNOW he got everything.
I really don't think people truly know or appreciate what happens to them on the water. Even if they have dark skin. THANK YOU for writing about this.