Posted by Richard P, 10-25-05

I've tried many different types of sunscreen, including Banana Boat, Coppertone, SolarSense and many no-name brands in both normal and "sport" formulations. Nothing seems to work as advertised, and I'm seriously thinking about going back to zinc oxide.

Does anyone have and recommendations on brand and application times for "winter like" climbing conditions that will prevent sunburn?

Posted by Kurt Wedberg, 10-25-05
Hi Richard,

My current brand is Reflect. It comes in a yellow tube and is a bit hard to find. I order it from the company and would be happy to get you some if you want to try it. Lemme know...
Kurt Wedberg

Posted by Passinthru, 10-25-05
Are you using the sunscreen for the areas that you can't cover up, or are you trying to screen skin that SHOULD be covered up. I cover up everything I can and then use sunscreen on the parts that aren't. Don't forget the inside of your ears and under your nose. I've had 3 basal cells removed from inside my ears, one of which required a graft. Cover up now, your dermatologist that you will be seeing when you are in your 50's will thank you............steve

Posted by keema, 10-25-05
Richard, I sweat a great deal and have been pleased with Bullfrog. I slather it on quite liberallyIt doesn't seem to sweat away and I use it winter and summer, low altitude and high. As pasinthru said, get the ears, under the nose and chin, especially in snow.

Posted by john22, 10-25-05
I also use Bullfrog, and have found that walmart has the price.

Posted by John Frog, 10-25-05

I think that your use of zinc oxide may be a good call. As a 61 year old surfer, golfer, kayaker, backpacker, sprint triathlete etc., have had way too much sun and am now waiting for Thursday to see if the surgeon got everything. Had plenty of basal cell in the past, but this one was letigo maligna or worse. But, to your question about zinc oxide. At this stage of my sun damage career, about two or three hours of high altitude exposure (with spf 50 liberally applied) yields purple small blotches on my forearms and hands. I now use sun gloves and arm sleves, which completely eliminates the problem.

Although there is probably no way to completely block out the sun at high altitude, the barrier of zinc oxide would probably be quite beneficial.

The good part about sun damage and melanoma is that most precursors to it are very slow growing (5 to 15 years). The bad part is that the precursors frequently look like the sun spots typical with advancing age and are smooth and flat. It is well to see the dermotalogist on a six month cycle if you have had significant sun exposure and are starting to see dark spots.

Posted by Richard P, 10-25-05
Kurt, thanks for the offer. If I can't find the product, I may take you up on it.

The area of concern is my cheeks and nose. I wear a baseball cap and bandana to cover my neck and ears under most circumstances. On occasion, I've been known to use a shirt on my head and the bandana around my face. (My climbing partners usually start to laugh when I resort to this setup.)

Under these conditions, it has to be the reflection off of the snow/ice causing the burn on my nose and cheeks. You'd think that the application of 30, or 50, SPF would be sufficient to prevent the burn. If others have had success with products that don't seem to work for me, maybe I'm not applying the cream thick enough.

Posted by keema, 10-25-05
Another trick I learned for the cold and snow is to keep a spearate stick of chapstick handy for the bottom of your nose. In the cold noses run and we continualy wipe them and rub off sun screen and tend to rub noses raw. Apply a liberal layer of chapstick on the bottom of the nose (when you reapply for your lips, pull out the nose one and reapply too) and it will last a little longert than sunscreen and help keep the nose from getting as raw.

Posted by Passinthru, 10-26-05
John, I commisserate with you, I am 62, grew up at the beach (Playa del Rey) near LAX, back when nobody knew about sunblock. I learned how to ski at Mammoth in 1956 during Easter week, and came home looking like a reverse Raccoon. Sun damage is CUMULATIVE, like adding water to a glass, drop by drop. Everyone's tolerance is different. All my grandparents came from Norway, hence not much sun tolerance for me.
My dermatologist prescribed a topical cream for me in July (Aldara), that was approved a year ago, to try to avoid surgery on my left temple. Will find out if it worked next appt.
Buy SPF clothing. Harmful sun rays go right through normal clothing and hit your "points" YOUR SHOULDERS. If you don't have the SPF shirt, remember to apply sunscreen on your shoulders at least.
Don't forget: inside the ears and under the nose, the nose being in the "magic triangle" the dermatologists talk about, untreated skin cancer there has direct access to your brain.
grease up.................steve

Posted by John Frog, 10-26-05
Thanks Steve, There definitely was no sunscreen when I started surfing and playing golf in the 50's. Now am careful to put spf clothes on most of the time, but still enjoy being in the desert with my shirt off and feeling the wind on my skin. The surgery last Friday on my temple made me miss a 17 day tour of Baja with my friends, who left on the same day, but such is life.

The fear of sun damage is a little like the current emphasis on "Homeland Security", an overreaction to a threat that exists. So far, most of the consequences do not warrant the fear which has taken hold. I'm going to keep doing the things that I love to do and not worry too much about what low probabilty event might happen down the road.

Posted by Nube, 05-27-08
hello Passinthru (or anyone that has advice about sun protection), I'm curious about the sunburn on the inside of your ears. Did you wear a hat? I'm going to climb Mt Whitney in late Sept. I have shoulder length dreads and plan to wear a wide brim hat (as well as sunglasses). Do you recommend sunscreen for the inside of my ears? Etc.? Thanks

Posted by Passinthru, 05-28-08
NUBE, YES,,, sunscreen INSIDE THE EARS TOO !! About 15 years ago, I had a basal cell carcinoma removed from inside my left ear that required a skin graft. A little prevention NOW may prevent medical attn down the road (usually 10,15,or 20 years later). Think of it as insurance. Do you drive your car without insurance?
I now like the sunscreens that you can spray on. They leave no greasy residue on my skin that attracts grit, etc. I would protect my nose with a better one though, maybe even the zinc oxide based salves.

Sun glasses that filter out all the bad rays are a requirement too!

I just had 3 basal cells removed on my face on May 5, so maybe why I'm on my high horse with the advice.

Don't let the fear of sun exposure keep you from your activities, just use common sense and protect yourself..............steve

p.s. the SPF clothing available now is quite varied. I have been wearing a long underwear top by REI while out in the sun lately that is rated UPF 50+ that also has a moisture transport fabric and a neck zipper and a short stand up collar.

Posted by Scott L, 05-28-08
I use dermatone with Z-cote which contains Zinc Oxide when I am in the mountains and it does a really good job. The most important thing I have learned is the need to reapply throughout the day. My last trip on Whitney in early April was really sunny and my skin did really well except for the bottom of my nose. It had been running a lot and I didn't realize I was wiping off all the sunscreen. I also make sure to rub the sunscreen all over and in my ears and also into my nostrils. I have burned the inside of my nose several times due to the reflection off the snow.

Posted by h_lankford, 05-28-08
for the outside of the nose, get one of those noseguards that we use while on snow or at high altitude

Posted by KevinR, 05-28-08
I've had good luck with Aloe Gator products. Have never to reapply the version that comes in the blue tube but the down side it's difficult to get out of the tube when it's near/below freezing. If you do an alpine start carry it in your pocket to warm it up in anticipation of sunrise. Haven't had that problem with the stuff in the red tube, but haven't used it as much either.

The product is a little hard to find, but can get it at REI and some climbing shops.

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