A couple of interesting statistics...
As we grow older, men are 3 times more likely to get skin cancer than women.
In the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.
Since the activity of boating puts us in outdoor situations for large blocks of time, we're all more susceptible to this type of cancer. There is really only one way to protect yourself - stay covered. Covering involves three things - clothes and hats that block UV, sunglasses that block UV, and sunscreen. Let's focus on sunscreen.
There are two basic types of sunscreen - physical and chemical. Physical sunscreens generally contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. They sit on top of your skin to deflect UV rays from penetrating and doing damage. They are often thicker, greasy, and less comfortable. They need total coverage in order to form a shield from the sun. But they last a long time and continue to protect as long as they sit on top of your skin.
Chemical sunscreens contain organic compounds (oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, and avobenzone) that are able to convert UV rays into heat. The heat is released from your skin and you become protected. They are usually thinner and more comfortable. Less is required since a physical barrier is not needed. But they typically need 20 minutes on your skin before they work. They can cause some skin irritation. And because they are consumed through the UV conversion, you have to apply more if you're in the sun. It's this last point that most of us fail to do - re-apply more sunscreen following the directions.
It's also important to recognize that over-exposure to chemicals absorbed by your skin might also create a risk. So it's imperative that you look into the sunscreen you're selecting and make sure that the chemical makeup isn't putting you in contact with substances that are more dangerous than the sun.
Most of us use the chemical sunscreens, yet this last point is one that is often overlooked. Selecting a sunscreen by the lowest price at the nearby Dollar store might not be the healthiest way to proceed. Instead, check out the Environmental Working Group who test nearly all sunscreens every year and produces a report about their findings.
Skin cancer is serious. Read the EWG guide to pick and use the right products for you.