Do you regularly apply sunscreen to cool, dry, clean skin before you head outside to climb? If not, you’re putting your body at risk for sunburn and sun-related cancers, as you probably already know. But did you know that if you’re climbing in the sun, you might also be sabotaging your athletic performance simply by not shielding your body’s skin from potentially harmful UV rays?
Ever since burning my ears to a crisp (complete with blisters — yikes!) in Hueco Tanks as a newbie 18-year-old rock climber, I have religiously applied sunscreen to my exposed skin daily before going out to climb. For years, I have worked with and been supported by Rocky Mountain Sunscreen, and this continues to be my preferred sunscreen. Why? Mainly because the company’s bonding-base formula “allows skin to breathe and perspire…As a result, the body is able to keep naturally cool by sweating,” as explained on the RMS Website.
In addition, Rocky Mountain Sunscreen’s greaseless, fragrance-free formula absorbs quickly leaves my hands free of any excess moisture. I also appreciate the company’s firm commitment to creating the finest sunscreen products possible as well as its ongoing efforts to educate and inform consumers. These efforts include a helpful information sheet covering the FDA’s new regulations for sunscreen labeling which go into effect this year, as well as the “Ten Sun Safety Rules to Save your Skin.”
I always cringe when I see a climber’s flesh burning or burnt when I’m out climbing; applying sunscreen before you leave the house is such a simple and straightforward way to avoid this potential performance (not to mention health-harming) pitfall. If your excuse is that you don’t like the greasy feel of sunscreen or the residue it leaves on your hands, try out Rocky Mountain Sunscreen (or another bonding-base formula). If you don’t have any bonding-base formula sunscreen, you really should just suck it up and apply whatever sunscreen you happen to have on hand. Even if you don’t care enough about your skin to protect it from potential cancers, perhaps the added incentive of a potential sun-related diminished climbing ability will prompt you to change your habits and make applying sunscreen daily a habit.
And remember — the sun’s harmful rays can still reach you through cloud cover, so don’t shirk on sunscreen just because it’s a cloudy day.
Tomorrow, I’ll continue this Training Talk with Skin Savvy: Part 3, Keeping Your Cool.