In our last post, we talked sunglasses – sun protection for your eyes. In the Boy Scout list and both of The Mountaineers lists of Ten Essentials , sun protection covers sunglasses and the topic of this post: sunscreen – sun protection for your skin.

According to, sunscreen is defined as “a substance formulated to prevent sunburn, skin cancers, and other conditions caused by excessive exposure to the sun, usually by absorbing and reflecting ultraviolet radiation.” The first usage of the word, as a compounding of “sun” and “screen” dates to 1738, but to 1954 as a lotion according the Online Etymology Dictionary.

We do quite a bit of our outings with long sleeves and long pants – in the winter to combat the cold and wind, in the summer to combat bugs and plants with various irritants. Despite this fact, we still always carry at least a small tube of sunscreen. Even mostly covered by clothing, on a cloudy day, with low sun angles, there is still the potential for sun exposure on the face, neck, and ears. If it’s warm enough the hands, and perhaps arms are exposed as well. If there is snow cover and it’s sunny, there is a real double-dose of sun exposure as it is reflected back up at you from below.


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