Sunscreen & Dry-tops

My husband insists that he can’t wear sunscreen when he goes kayaking because it will ruin his dry-top gaskets. First of all, is this true? And second, what can he use to prevent sunburns on his neck and face without damaging his dry-top?

It is my opinion that skin cancer will ruin his fun a lot more than having to replace gaskets more frequently!

Yes but
Creams of all kinds will damage gaskets to some degree, though how much depends on the maker. Stohlquist gaskets seem to be a lot hardier than those on Kokatat drysuits for example.

That said, we put on sunscreen after the drysuit is on, and there isn’t any contact with the stuff on our face. But hats advised as well. I don’t have much of any neck left exposed after what the gasket covers, don’t worry as much about that.

At least according to the kayaking book i have, sunscreen is no good for gaskets. According to what i’ve seen on tv recetly, Sunscreens typically are mostly good against UVB, that causes sunburn/tanning but not much use against UVA that causes skin cancer.

i got this hat

Ugly but highly functional. and i tuck the flaps in and wear it as a backwards baseball hat near public.

He’s playing with fire.
Skin cancer is nothing to fool around with. Tell him to try Bullfrog in the stick form. You can control the application more precisely than with a spray or gel. It was recommended to me by my dermatologist. FishHawk

Look for oil free sunscreens. Oil damages latex more than any of the other ingreadiants of sunscreens.

Wash the gaskets with a mild soap and warm water when you come home, and treat with 303 on occasion. This will cut the damage to the least possible amount.

Gaskets are replaceable!
Has he forgotten about priorities?

I put sunblock on, gaskets or not. I also wash my drysuit after every use. It is a 3-year old suit and still on the original gaskets.

I got a small tear in the neck gasket this winter, which I patched with a bike tube patch. Gaskets will have to be eventually replaced anyway–why risk skin cancer?!

BTW, the really horrible thing to avoid is putting insect repellent on most synthetics, including plastic sunglass lenses. You will see the damage within hours.

replacing gaskets
I’ve replaced only one gasket in my 10 year old scuba drysuit. My 4 year old paddling drysuit still has the same gasket in it. And for the record, I never use sunscreen (and rarely burn).

My wife on the other hand, uses sun screen often and she is in need of replacing the neck seal on her paddling drysuit now.

On her scuba drysuit she goes through a new gasket and wrist gaskets about every other year.

I should also mention that until 2 years ago we lived in the PNW and wore drysuits on average 3 times per week. The last 2 years we lived in Chicago and don’t use drysuits very often.

In summary, I’d recommend using the sunscreen and replacing gaskets as needed.