Sun protection and kitesurfing

Sun protection and kitesurfing

Kitesurfers, as other water sports practitioners, have to keep in mind sun protection when practicing kitesurfing.

Kitesurfers have love-hate relationship with the sun.  Its pleasant tanning and getting a beautiful skin color, but associated with this possibility it is coming together a dreadful one, the possibility of getting skin cancer

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To learn a little more about sunscreen lotions, UV rays and why and how they affect us,  we are uploading this informative post.

2 the sun on the beach
the sun on the beach, our friend? our enemy?

A little more in-depth information

The difference between UVA and the UVB rays, lays in the difference in its wave length. UVB rays cause the most immediate skin damage.

These rays penetrate the epidermis and activate the melanocyte cells, affecting the ability to produce melanin which are in the end responsible for the level of tanning.

sun protection with a lycra or neoprene
sun protection through a lycra or neoprene


This rays are the main cause of skin cancer, they also depress the immune system,  in part, they are filtered by the clouds and its effects on us can be reduced by sun lenses or clothing and are affected by two factors: the time of year and the geographical area in which we find ourselves

Evidently, being Vietnam in the tropics, the sun exposure it is very damaging.

The UVA and UVB rays are highly penetrating due to its long length and  at the same time, they are easily reflective, we simply receive a higher percentage of them just by the fact that can be reflected in the water

sun reflection on the water will burn your skin

The effects of these rays are immediate. UVA rays penetrate into the deep dermis of the skin and therefore are the main cause of premature aging of the skin. They also are guilty to cause wrinkles, spots of age and loss of elasticity.

Together with UVB rays can cause real damage, killing the cells, dilating the blood vessels and producing  redness or burning on our skin, destroying vitamins and connective tissue.

The UVA stimulate melanin but more slowly. Unlike the UVB, they are more pervasive and are able to cross glass and other barriers, they are also 10 to 100 times more abundant than the UVB

3 ultra voilet and infrared rays

The effects of these rays is at more long term. The obvious solution to this, it is to protect us always when we are exposed to the the sun, with wetsuits, lycras, hats, helmets, etc and of course, to use plenty sunscreen.


Are sunscreens enough protection?

Here is the scientific part of it: there are two types of balm sunscreens: Physical / chemical and mineral products / organic, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Physical sunscreens, zinc and titanium dioxide, are made of minerals and stay literally on the outside skin which is what that reflects UV rays.

sun ointments and solar protection also for kitesurfing

The second type, chemical, they are made from organic substances that are anchored in the outer layer of the skin and absorb UV rays.

Therefore, it is assumed that you have to wait a bit before exposing yourself to the sun and also if entering the water however, over time, these organic compounds are bound to break down, therefore, their time of effectiveness it is limited, which can be a problem.

No matter how good the sun screen is, sun protection that we apply it is not going to last forever, and that is where whole thing known as SPF rating comes into play.   The SPF is a multiplier indicating the sunscreen while it will increase your natural defenses against UV radiation.

don't stay too long under the sun
don’t stay too long under the sun

In essence, if your skin could be handled in a natural way 10 minutes in the Sun, to spread it with SPF 30 would mean that it could handle 30 minutes.   But that is just theoretical as in fact, this assumption probes to be wrong.

These organic chemicals break down inevitably and gradually with the pass of time, soon, in fact, and  the efficacy of this sunscreen inevitably decreases constantly from the moment that you apply it to yourself.

As the kitesurfer I am, I am often very exposed to sun ray effects and I want to know what happen to sunscreens when we are in the water.  Is there a classification system created for this purpose. Marked “water-resistant” sunscreens are supposedly qualified until after 40 minutes of immersion.

components of sun screen lotions
components of sun screen lotions

So SPF 30, which boasts “water resistance”, could be much stronger, but still is rated 30 at the end of the test. The best qualification for the kisurfers should be “very water resistant,” in which a sunscreen is rated after 80 minutes of immersion.

But there is no such thing as truly waterproof sunscreen, already that all sunscreens degrade in water. Currently, is “Very water resistant” the highest rating for UVB rays.

One last thing to keep in mind is that sunscreen labels are not really well regulated in Europe.  The Australians are a few steps ahead of the rest of Europe or the USA.  The system ranges from 1-5 stars, meaning that a bottle of sunscreen could say SPF 30 would be equal to  4-stars.

This is a significant improvement, since it tells the user how the sunscreen will protect him of the unwanted cancer skin danger, not only of the sunburn.   The best thing a user can do is to pay close attention to what is in your sunscreen and make sure that have a good UVA protector.

different type of skin
different type of skin

1 of every 5 people that practice watersports are prone to suffer skin cancer

1 of every 3 of them are caucasians, so the choice it should be simple.
We must protect ourselves seriously.

sun covered by clouds
sun covered by clouds

A sunscreen helps protecting us when we are kitesurfing. To protect your skin, your body doesn’t have to work overtime battling rays UV and this means that you can focus on maximizing your potential in order to improve your  kitesurfing navigation.

Even small exposure levels will affect the way your body uses hormones stress, as the key to adrenal and the cortisol, and negatively affecting your overall performance. If you’re going to get sunburned, probably also will be more slow and not as in shape as you could be.

aloe vera for sunburn skin
Aloe Vera, the best natural after sun

Protect yourself and ensure a good sunscreen, while covering your head with a hat or helmet and your body with a lycra, and when in the water, wear a neoprene, all these precautionary measures only work in your favor.

Happy kitesurfing learning or kitesurfing sessions!

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