As a senior paddler, I should know better

I can’t count the times I have advised others about sun protection and almost always use sunscreen and a hat.
Except yesterday afternoon . It was beautiful; warm not hot.

My truck was parked near the water and has a really comfortable seat. I got in with the windows down and fell asleep with the sun shining through the window.
My head is the color of a boiled lobster.

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Ouch! Spread lots of aloe over it.

Did that last night. It helped.

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You are only human. And thanks for sharing, good point for everyone.

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In another thread I have been pointing out the craziness of what was considered normal growing up in the 50s & 60s. The sun is just another example. Back then sun cream was oil to help you to cook not protect you from the sun. I got about 50 when I read that every bad sunburn you get before 18 years old doubles your chance of a skin cancer. I didn’t do the math and have to conceder myself luck to only have a few that were treatable.

As to aloe we have a massive plant growing in a pot and from time to time its lost a few big leaves. Last time it did I put them in a freezer bag and froze them. As good as aloe works you need to try it frozen or slightly thawed. The combined cool and aloe is amazing.

Sorry to hear of the burn and thanks for the reminder.

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We senior statesmen of our paddled path,
or is that addled learned in sun-warmed pride.
Asleep at the wheel with extra rosy appeal,
liquid nitrogen soon crowns topside.

Aloe as you must go, hope it’s not, too… a peeling,.
He, though,
of fine Panama chapeau,
and SPF50-smathered face gone fro,
now per sleeves erratically akimlimbos,
sports two forearm in twin-twist barberschloppy poles.

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Today’s visit to the same spot.

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The tannins in compresses soaked with cooled down black tea helped with easing sunburn I got on one of my trips to the Virgin Islands --burns on the back of thighs and upper back from hours of obsessive snorkeling near the Equator can really put a crimp in one’s vacation activities.

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I’m trying to learn more about various types of sunscreen and how diet can be protective.
I’ve spent decades in Hawaii and the Caribbean and California so skin cancer could be in my future.


Dr. Sarah started her academic career in physics, earning an Honors Bachelor of Science with Distinction from the University of Victoria, Canada in 1999. Her honors thesis work was in radiation therapy for prostate cancer, which prompted her to look for medical research applications in graduate school . Dr. Sarah earned her doctorate degree in medical biophysics at The University of Western Ontario in 2003, at the age of 26. Her doctoral thesis was titled “Progressive Liver Injury during the Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome: Heme Oxygenase as a Therapeutic Target”. Her doctoral research spanned the gamut of inflammation, innate immunity, endogenous anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant enzymes, gene therapy techniques, microcirculation and vascular biology, liver health, and critical care medicine.

Her article cites a few meta analyses that are intriguing.

This is one many in the medical community are discussing

followed over 25,000 women in Sweden for twenty years. Women who got regular sun exposure did have a slightly higher risk for melanoma compared to women who avoided the sun, but they also had a lower all-cause mortality risk, meaning that they were generally healthier and lived longer. In fact, women who avoided the sun had a lower life expectancy—by 0.6-2.1 years!—compared to the women who spent the most time in the sun! One of the most surprising conclusions of the study: “Nonsmokers who avoided sun exposure had a life expectancy similar to smokers in the highest sun exposure group, indicating that avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor for death of a similar magnitude as smoking.”

(It’s possible sunscreen protects against skin cancer and lowers life expectancy at the same time)

I use it on my face and places I don’t want cut off but try and get moderate exposure doing outdoor activity in sunlight because my belief is that sunlight is protective from what we observe in the literature.

Without more detailed data comparing the relative activity factors of the study participants I find it hard to suss how they reached the conclusion that sun exposure by itself had such a strong mortality connection. People who are outside a lot more than those who “avoid” sun exposure are going to tend to be more physically active in general, no? Wouldn’t that have significant impact on overall health and life extension? Did the study account for different levels of activity so they had an “apples to apples” cohort on both sides? If by “avoid exposure” they meant those who are just as active outside but use sunscreen, that would be a meaningful comparison. And if they accounted for that, did they compare use of low chemical mineral blocking sunscreens like zinc oxide to the conventional ingredients like benzophenone, oxybenzone, octinoxate, benzotriazoles, cinnamates and PABAs? Do we really know the long term systemic effects of slathering gobs of those chemicals on our skin for decades?

I know there are concerns about vitamin D deficiency for us women in northern latitudes if we get insufficient skin exposure to sunlight. I have early osteoporosis (though 5 years of Prolia injections have arrested the progress, and I think my regular strength training helps), so i try to get at least half an hour of sun exposure on unshielded bare arms and/or legs daily. So far, despite a rather rough and tumble lifestyle (wrestling heavy boats and landscaping equipment, moving furniture and building materials, using heavy power tools, clambering over back country trails) I have yet to break a bone or become otherwise enfeebled. Not bad for turning 74 next week.

And, as has been discovered in much research on the combined effects of various factors in cancers (like the connection between smokers being more apt to get asbestos related lung cancers than non-smokers, consumption of nitrates increasing digestive system cancers and regular use of coffee seeming to offer increased resistance to breast, colorectal and liver cancer ), it’s hard to know what all the exposure and habit factors are really combining in any population study to increase or decrease lifespan.


“hard to know” with observational studies (sometimes that is the best evidence we have) but interesting to watch as new evidence emerges or the weight of the evidence shifts.

Big Data has changed what we can find out with data sets and you’ll read that it will increasingly replace the gold standard randomized clinical trial because the data sets get larger and more statistically powerful with digitalization.

The other important thing to keep in mind is that new research usually takes 10-17 years to make it into clinical practice protocols so waiting becomes costly.

I find the idea that humans evolved in sunlight and that it probably optimizes our immune system to be persuasive.

Something can lower your risk for skin cancer and simultaneously increase other cancer risks but people want absolutes.


In March of 2001, the Institute of Medicine report Crossing the Quality Chasm 3 stated, “It now takes an average of 17 years for new knowledge generated by randomized controlled trials to be incorporated into practice, and even then application is highly uneven.”


Although I do use barrier sunscreen on my face, I don’t subscribe to the “cover all your skin” philosophy because I am hedging my bet and think that some exposure is healthy.

Another interesting thing is the diverging approaches of the dermatology model vs cosmetic surgeons. The cosmetic guys are using a lot of prevention like annual treatments to slough microscopic precancers with Levulon Kerastick (aminolevulinic acid) or nightly retinol. Many male mountaineers and fighter pilots are doing it now. My husband’s climbing partner (maxilla facial surgeon and rescue climber) suggested we do it every year or so. I am not certain but I don’t think the dermatologists are promoting it as much, it just isn’t their business model.

I wish I had covered my face with something a couple of days ago.

AI-enabled meta analysis will shorten that 17 year lag considerably, and that’s a good thing.
However, I fear the pressure on researchers to produce immediate results will lead to fewer well-designed controlled studies, and if foundational science isn’t available to train large language model AI, we all pay a price.

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Sun protection. I have finally wised up. I have not been sun burned in about 5 years.
It is a good thing, because Monday I get some hide removed with a scalpel.

A big problem is that the “best” design can not be done ethically on human subjects or in a timely way.

So, you should make an after-action plan and put it on every day in the morning. :wink: pretend it is a life jacket.

I’ve had a lot of subcutaneous hide removed in the past 2 years, mostly from my face.
I spent my childhood in the sun and it’s now catching up.

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Hi string,
I have hide removed from face, top of the head and especially the back.
Melanoma on my face twice.
We didn’t know any better, growing up on the water and then having an outdoor career.
I teach kids to ride horses. I ask them if they use sunscreen and the answer is always no.

They’re invincible, just like we were.

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But now we have a lot more information.