Sun protection for outdoor sports
The effects of sun on the human body
We depend on the sun – but at the same time, we shouldn't underestimate its power.
Excessive UV radiation causes burns, which can increase the risk of skin cancer.
If the heat radiation irritates our meninges too much, we get a sunstroke, which is usually accompanied by severe headaches and neck pain, nausea and dizziness.
As with everything in life, a healthy level is, therefore, crucial – and this is particularly important during long outdoor activities.
Where the sun affects our body most
Whether walking upright, riding a bike or kayaking, in almost all outdoor sports, some parts of the body are more exposed to the sun than others. These need special protection.
From top to bottom: The forehead, bridge of the nose and chin offer a good starting point for sunburn. At particular risk are also shoulders, neck and chest area, the back of the hands, knees, calves and the bridge of the feet.
Photo: Tembela Bohle, CC0, pexels.com
Slip, slop, slap
Even when it is hot, you should wear clothing that protects your most sensitive skin areas.
Sunscreen is obligatory on all uncovered areas too. The headgear not only protects against sunburn on the face but also against the dreaded sunstroke.
Sunglasses, to protect the eyes, are also a must. They must absorb UV-A and UV-B radiation and be large enough to cover the eyes completely.
The right protection for your skin type
How strong your sun protection needs to be, depends on your skin type.
People with light-colored and sensitive skin should not stay unprotected in the sun for longer than 10 minutes. For outdoor sports, we recommend airy but long-sleeved clothing, a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor and a broad-brimmed hat.
The darker the skin type, the higher the body's protection factor. However, you should still not leave the house without sunscreen and a hat.
Fast help case of emergency
If your skin begins to redden despite protective measures or you notice the first signs of sunstroke, you should immediately switch to the shade and avoid the sun on the following days.
Cooling pads for the forehead, neck and affected skin areas provide relief. In the case of minor burns of the skin, cooling works best with water and cold yogurt wraps have also proved useful. It would be best if you also drank a lot.
The use of ice can be critical – you don't want to inflict frostbite on your stressed skin.
If the sunburn is already well advanced or if you feel symptoms that go beyond light headaches and discomfort, you should immediately consult a doctor.