Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Tale of Sunscreen, Vitamin D, and Fly Fishing

   Last year a friend bought me a bottle of SPF50 sunscreen.  I'd been spending some time on the water in my pontoon, happily fishing and finning away.  I'd been using a weaker sunscreen and had also trialed a stick sunscreen with comical results.  I believe I had truly sexy legs one year in my life & that was certainly not last year.   My summer of 2012 two-toned legs with white on the back & red with white stripes on the front, may have led to stares, but giggles soon followed along with the bottle of SF50.

   This year, I've been lathering on the sunscreen.  If a particular part of my flesh would get a bit of sun, it got the treatment.  And I repeated the applications throughout the day.  A wonderful friend of mine recently got a spot of malignant melanoma removed from her back.  That knowledge only reinforced the need for sunscreen, especially for those of us who were not blessed with genetics belonging to any darker-skinned ancestor.

   Then yesterday I got a phone call.  The medical assistant told me my blood showed I was low in vitamin D.  Is that why I felt like a walking zombie for the last 5 days?  So I'm following the doctor's advice and taking a supplement.  However, I just have to wonder what that blood value would've been had I not been protecting my skin from the sun with SPF50?!  

   So, fellow anglers and sunburners, continue to wear your sunscreen, your hats, sunglasses and UV-protected shirts.  But under most circumstances, it is recommended to give your skin 15 minutes/day, 3-7 times/week (more if you are darker-skinned) of unclothed & SPF-free sun exposure to let your body make its own vitamin D.  And before you go exposing all those sensitive parts to the sun, speak with your doctor and remember that simply leaving your arms exposed to the sun usually generates enough vitamin D.  Good old 'D' keeps your bones and teeth healthy, your skin happy, and keeps you from feeling like a dull-headed putz.  And after all, who wants to feel like a dull-headed putz when you're out stalking your favorite fish?

   I'm having a privacy fence built in my backyard later this month & then I'll be able to ditch the supplements. Why?  Soon, come any season, I will be able to stand in my backyard -buck-naked- for 15 minutes each day, & turn myself into a vitamin D-generating machine!  Watch out, musky!!!