As geocachers we spend the majority of our adventures outside. At times we often get wrapped up in the “hunt” and tend to forget about that great big burning ball of fire in the sky.
Our skin is the largest organ our bodies have and it needs protection! The sun gives off extremely harmful UV rays that can damage our skin, even cause skin cancer. The intense rays from the sun can cause second and third degree burns to our skin causing blisters and scarring the tissue.
Make sure you are using sunblock with an adequate SPF for your adventures in the outdoors. Sun Protection Factor or SPF is the rating of protection the sunblock offers agains the sun. The best way to be sure of what SPF you need is to multiply the number of SPF by 10, and that would be the minutes of protection you would have. For example: SPF 15 would be 15 x 10 = 150 minutes of protection. You must also take into consideration other factors such as sweating or hopping into the lake, which depletes the protection of sunblock. The safest bet is to get the highest SPF you can find. A good SPF50 – SPF100 should be good enough for a day of caching. But be sure to re-apply as necessary.
This isn’t to say that the sun is all bad though. Vitamin D is produced in the body from the sun and is beneficial to your health in preventing things like skin cancer. Don’t worry about blocking out all the Vitamin D with use of sunblock, as you get as much as you need from casual exposure to the sun – like getting out at the pump to fill your vehicle with fuel, or running into the nearest sporting goods store to upgrade your GPSr.
Also be sure to pair regular sunblock use with other forms of protection, such as sunglasses, a hat, and long sleeves when you can.