If you enjoy Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, Surfing, Paddle boarding or any water sport you need to think about sun protection. We all understand the damage sun can do to our skin but did you know the damage some sunblock can do to the ocean?
Finding the right reef friendly sun screen can be difficult and with the conflicting scientific studies available on what chemicals are harmful and which are safe it is difficult for the water lover to protect their skin and the ocean.
Cover-up. The simplest and most eco-friendly solution is to wear a rash guard. Made popular by surfers these shirts with SPF 30+ protect you in and out of the water. Unlike sunscreen a rash guard will not wash off(even water proof sunscreen is only good for about 80 minutes) and does not need to be re-applied.
These shirts are typically made from nylon, spandex or polyester. Unlike cotton shirts they will not stretch out or degrade from the use in salt water. The material is fast drying and can be used for a variety of sports. Different names you may see for these are Rashies, Sun Shirt, Swim Shirts, Skin suits and more. Styles range from short sleeve shirts, long sleeve shirts and full body suits. The more coverage the more protection you will get.
The fit is meant to be snug to tight. Just like your swim suit it shouldn't be floating around you in the water. However if you are more comfortable with a loose fit there are several brands that do offer a looser cut or you can purchase a size up.
Another means of protecting your skin include wearing a neoprene wetsuit which can also provide you with thermal protection in cooler water or for prolonged periods of time in warm water.
Also consider covering up your head and ears with a hat, hood or Scap. This is extra important those with short to no hair.