Finally, it is that time of year again! The summer is approaching, the weather is getting nicer and the sun is once again shining on us. To skydivers, the most important thing this mean is, it is the skydiving season! Thank goodness for that. However, along with the beautiful weather and long days of jumping on the drop zone. This time of year also brings along sun burns. Not only can a gnarly sun burn make wearing our gear a bit uncomfortable. It is really unhealthy for our skin! Skydiving and sun protection may not be on your mind when heading to the drop zone, but it should be!
Maybe skydiving and sun protection are not a big consideration for you. But I assure you, it is something each of us should be thinking about. Spending long summer days in the sun, hustling between jumps, dirt diving in the sun, or just chilling out in the good weather between jumps. It isn’t long before you see some of us bright red and blistered. Nothing sucks more than pulling your gear over painful sunburnt shoulders. Let’s try to avoid that this skydiving season!
Why is sun protection important?
Okay, so if you didn’t already know, we all do need sun exposure for our health. Although, too much, and without protection is damaging to our health! It only takes a little time in the sun for our bodies to absorb an appropriate amount of vitamin D. Yet too much unprotected exposure to the suns ultraviolet (UV) rays, can quickly lead our bodies to sun damage. Different types of health problems from unprotected UV exposure includes, skin damage, eye damage, immune system suppression and of course, skin cancer. Not to mention, it can lead to early signs of aging in our skin! This summer, start your skydiving season with proper sun protection
What can I do to protect myself?
So the most obvious and easy way to protect yourself from sun damage is to wear sun screen daily, and to reapply throughout the day. This is for sure going to have to become habit at the drop zone. We all know those super long jumping days, when we seem to forget to eat and drink. (Seriously, don’t forget to drink water either!) Protect yourself and make it a habit to stop throughout the day and reapply sunscreen and hydrate yourself! This also includes the days with clouds. Remember the sun is the strongest between approximately 10 am to 4 pm, which is prime jumping time. Get in the habit of protecting yourself from the strongest UV rays of the day. It is suggested to reapply every 2 hours!
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends to wear sunscreen with an SPF of AT LEAST 30. But hey, if can wear have higher, its even better. Also be sure to find yourself a good sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection. This means you are protected from both UVB and UVA rays. UVB rays are responsible for creating sun burn on your skin and playing the greatest role in skin cancer development. UVA rays on the other hand penetrate the skin more deeply, and directly result to premature aging and wrinkle formations!
Did you know that the higher altitude you go, UV ray intensity increases? Protecting your eyes while skydiving is going to be a really good decision. Protection during skydiving is easy, just wear the correct eyewear! Much like the damage to your skin, the UV rays will damage both the delicate skin around your eyes and the eyes themselves. Without proper sun protection, you are risking skin cancer for the area around your eyes. As well, UV radiation can lead to some pretty serious eye conditions such as cataracts, cancers, corneal sunburn and macular degeneration. Oh and don’t forget that your chances of premature wrinkles are much higher!
Well, as you see it is pretty easy to protect your eyes and look good while doing it! Finding yourself a pair of sunglasses are going to go a long way for sun protection of your eyes. When purchasing, choose a pair of sunnies that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. This skydiving season, while you are on the ground packing, dirt diving or just chilling, consider wearing a hat with a long brim to cover your eyes from the sun as well.
Sun protective clothing
Skydiving and sun protection can also be as easy as putting on the right shirt! One super easy way to protect your skin from sun damage this summer, is to wear sun protective clothing. It may cost a bit more than your average fast fashion, however there are tons of options available. Sun protective clothing is measured by UPF which means ultraviolet protection factor. UPF indicates the amount of UV radiation (UVB and UVA) that a fabric allows to reach your skin. For example, in order for a fabric to qualify for The Skin Cancer Foundations Seal of Recommendation, it must have a UPF of 30, which offers good protection. However a UPF rating of 50 offers excellent protection.
Not all clothing is equal when it comes to sun protection. Factors such as color, construction, fit and coverage all play a factor. If your clothing is to tight, fabric is stretched and allows more UV rays to reach the body. The more skin covered, offers more protection. Dark or bright colors protect the skin better by absorbing the UV rays, which compared to lighter colors, offers more protection.
So perhaps you have never considered your clothes to be a form of sun protection, yet they are! When you are choosing your clothing for skydiving, consider choosing items with these factors in mind. Many sports brands will offer clothing with great sun protection, so dishing out a little more cash is well worth it, considering your health could be at stake. Remember to get yourself a UPF rated hat as well, to keep your head protected during your jumping day when you are not wearing your helmet.
Don’t forget that Colorful Jerseys have a UPF of 50, which makes them the perfect article of clothing to wear skydiving. The full length jerseys are a nice loose fit, with full arm coverage and an excellent UPF rating. Not to mention the bright colors are optimal for absorbing UV rays and keeping you looking amazing on all your skydiving jumps!
Take a rest in the shade
During your moments of down time at the drop zone, do your body a favour and take some time out in the shade. Remember as I mentioned, the sun rays are most intense during the hours of 10am and 4pm. If you are waiting for your load to go up, and finding yourself not busy. Sit down and relax under some shade to get out of the sun for a bit. It is super important to hydrate yourself every day, and especially on hot summer days. Sit back, relax and drink some water! You will be doing your body some good service.
Keep coming back
It is very nice to enjoy the sunshine in the summer skydiving season. We all love great weather and skydiving, its the best combination. But don’t forget skydiving and sun protection go hand in hand during the sunny summer days. Keep yourself protected and healthy so you can continue to jump and enjoy skydiving in your best possible health. Be safe and blue skies!
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