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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    High Alpine Sun-Protection Gear/Sunblock/Strategies?

    Looking for product/strategy advice for when you're above treeline for 10+ hours, perhaps for several days, with the spring sun trying to irradiate your skin from every conceivable direction.

    I feel like I should be better at this than I am. At least a few times a year, I get roasted. Recently, I did a three-day trip in the high Sierra and somehow, on the second day, my chin, underside of my nose, and lips got toasted. I wore a hooded sun shirt for basically the entirety of the trip and tried to apply sunblock and chapstick at nearly every stop (3 or 4x a day). I don't want to look like 60-year-old ski-town local who skied 70+ days a year in the 80's and now has leather-skin to show for it.

    Sunblock: What are your recommendations? I usually apply Neutrogena 15 spf when I wake up and then apply 30 spf in a smaller, travel-sized bottle of whatever I find at the drug store or REI a few times through the day. This works for most trips. Ideally, I'd like to avoid sunblock that either has the consistency of cream cheese or leaves an uncool white film on one's face. But at this point, I'll willing to look like a weirdo if it means saving my skin. Or maybe instead of 3-4 sunblock applications, I need to do it 5-7 times?

    Chapstick: I think I use some form of Blistex with 15 spf. Again, it normally works but my shit got roasted on my last trip.

    Hats: I bring one of either two hats. (1) A big, silly 360-degree-brimmed sun hat. It does an awesome job of keeping me cool and I love it. The only caveat is that does not really work under a helmet, which I've started wearing anytime when I'm climbing something steeper or where rock and ice fall are possible. (2) A baseball cap. It shields the front of my face well and fits nicely underneath my helmet. It doesn't protect my neck or ears, but it works well in conjunction with a hooded sun shirt.

    Sun shirts: I'm new to sun shirts, but just picked up and used this Ex Officio hooded shirt. (Most such shirts seem to be marketed toward fly fisherman.) The hood and long-sleeves felt great even when it was hot and sweaty. But I couldn't quite zip it all the way up (full ninja-mode) so that it would have covered my nose and mouth because it made it a little harder to breathe and fogged up my sunglasses. That's why my chin, lips, and the bottom of my nose got roasted.

    So, whatcha got, TGR collective?

  2. #2
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    Apr 2012
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    Fishing stuff is a good place to start.

    Grab a face tube to use along with your sun shirt. You can pull it up over your face to cover up from the sun and easily move it off your face to drink, etc. Plus they are breathable and don't fog your glasses as much. Toss a ballcap on with all of that and you should be good to go.

    For sunblock, I'd go with SPF 50 if you are spending a ton of time in the sun and reapply liberally.

    I'm a pale Irishman, so I have some experience with managing the sun.

  3. #3
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    Sunblock: I usually use Neutrogena, but don't really have any specific brand recommendations, other than high SPF and not expired. Apparently, there are different types, some of which hold their useable life longer than others, but my general rule of thumb is to toss expired sunscreen.

    Hats: Baseball cap with neck protection will fit under the helmet, like this. Maybe redundant if you wear a hooded sun shirt.

    For lips, I do a high SPF regular/chemical chapstick (e.g., this, though I'm sure there are many others that work equally well) AND a zinc oxide chapstick (like SOL). If you get the big thing of SOL and keep it in a pocket, you can rub it on your lips and face (like sunscreen) throughout the day without stopping. ETA: if I had to pick just one, I'd pick the one with zinc because it's a physical barrier.
    Last edited by auvgeek; 04-21-2017 at 02:06 PM.
    "Alpine rock and steep, deep powder are what I seek, and I will always find solace there." - Bean Bowers

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Fraggle Rock, CO
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    I'm super mega white and I use Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Spray when I'm at home and up in the hills. Shit is spf 100 so it's rated for use by vampires, albinos, and web developers. It goes on surprisingly clean and, when properly and thoroughly applied, lasts me up to 5 hours without needing to reapply.

    When I need just face protection (cuz I've got long sleeves and light gloves on) I often reach for the Neutrogena Face + Body Stick which is (only) SPF 70. It goes on thicker and feels a little more greasy for sure than the body mist spray. That said, the deodorant style applicator is love when I'm up in the hills and have no easy way to wash my hands after putting it on. Makes applying and reapplying clean and quick.

    http://www.neutrogena.com/product/ul...ortby=ourPicks

    http://www.neutrogena.com/product/ul...ortby=ourPicks
    Last edited by Cruiser; 04-21-2017 at 12:12 PM.
    Brandine: Now Cletus, if I catch you with pig lipstick on your collar one more time you ain't gonna be allowed to sleep in the barn no more!
    Cletus: Duly noted.

  5. #5
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    Nov 2007
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    Chase and I both I got fried on our tour Saturday just in the backyard (Rose). Inside of my nose even. A buff is really going to be the only foolproof way to prevent that. I have a couple I use fishing once in a while. But just the thought of trying to breath through one of those while skinning or bootpacking is giving me claustrophobic anxiety as I type this

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  6. #6
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    Dec 2006
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    Thanks, guys.

    Good stuff. I'm definitely stepping up my spf rating. Picked up the chapstick you recommended, auvgeek.

    Cruiser: the 100 spf looks like a good starting point. I'm not, however, wild about the deodorant style applicator, which is hard for me to apply consistently.

    Any thoughts on the fancier sunblocks from French and Japanese companies? They tend to cost 2-3x as much, but I'll occasionally pilfer my wife's spendy high-quality sunblock products and they at least apply better.

    [ETA} Agreed about the buff, sierraskier. But I think I could only wear it up to my bottom lip when climbing.

  7. #7
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    Dec 2007
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    I've thought about wrapping my head in a turban like the African nomadic tribes do. I figured they know how to deal with the sun... then the whole ISIS thing made me think otherwise.

  8. #8
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    Dec 2006
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    A backcountry turban would be steezy as hell. (Are people still saying "steezy.")

    Also, I thought a read a while ago that high, 50+ SPF sunblocks don't really provide more protection than the stuff between 35-50 SPF.

  9. #9
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    Aug 2006
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    I use spf 20-30 at most and focus on diligent reapplication.

    But I generally prefer to cover up over using sunscreen.

    The tube is a good idea for the under nose, lips, mouth, and tongue. A friend once got horribly burnt on the roof of his mouth and tongue during a Sierra multi day sun and ski fest. It resulted is pain and swelling and kinda sucked for him. He uses bandanas and tubes to mitigate that problem.

  10. #10
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    Jun 2006
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    Dermatone dude. SPF 30 is fine, but you want a physical sunscreen like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Yeah, you look like a lifeguard. But it's better than skin cancer. I use that almost exclusively for face/neck in the winter and spring. I'll use standard stuff for arms if it's that hot (Bullfrog SPF 40 or similar).

    That and a Buff.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ernest_Hemingway View Post
    I realize there is not much hope for a bullfighting forum. I understand that most of you would prefer to discuss the ingredients of jacket fabrics than the ingredients of a brave man. I know nothing of the former. But the latter is made of courage, and skill, and grace in the presence of the possibility of death. If someone could make a jacket of those three things it would no doubt be the most popular and prized item in all of your closets.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKbruin View Post
    Also, I thought a read a while ago that high, 50+ SPF sunblocks don't really provide more protection than the stuff between 35-50 SPF.
    True.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ernest_Hemingway View Post
    I realize there is not much hope for a bullfighting forum. I understand that most of you would prefer to discuss the ingredients of jacket fabrics than the ingredients of a brave man. I know nothing of the former. But the latter is made of courage, and skill, and grace in the presence of the possibility of death. If someone could make a jacket of those three things it would no doubt be the most popular and prized item in all of your closets.

  12. #12
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    Aug 2006
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    High Alpine Sun-Protection Gear/Sunblock/Strategies?

    I use the alba botanica mineral sunscreen. 30 spf with zinc and ti. It goes on clear once it warms. I've been using it for years from skiing to full days soaking at the river. Never get burned as long as I remember to reapply.

  13. #13
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    Word. I've used the Badger stuff too, but it's too thick IMO. That's an issue with all physical/mineral formulas, but especially the badger stuff. Dermatone formulas are better in my experience. I'll check out the Alba Botanical stuff.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ernest_Hemingway View Post
    I realize there is not much hope for a bullfighting forum. I understand that most of you would prefer to discuss the ingredients of jacket fabrics than the ingredients of a brave man. I know nothing of the former. But the latter is made of courage, and skill, and grace in the presence of the possibility of death. If someone could make a jacket of those three things it would no doubt be the most popular and prized item in all of your closets.

  14. #14
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    Walmart Equate SPF50 is consistently the CR Best Buy.

  15. #15
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    Aug 2016
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    sunblock - aloe gator SPF 40+ - water resistant/sweat resistant. Dermatone for lips.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by LightRanger View Post
    Word. I've used the Badger stuff too, but it's too thick IMO. That's an issue with all physical/mineral formulas, but especially the badger stuff. Dermatone formulas are better in my experience. I'll check out the Alba Botanical stuff.
    We have a bottle of badger. It never gets used because the ghostly appearance. We buy that alba stuff because it's at the grocery store that we usually use.

  17. #17
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    Jun 2006
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    The problem with lips and under the nose/nostrils is that it constantly gets wiped off, so you have to constantly reapply. Dermatone for the win since it is a thicker, though I often apply spf 15 chapstick there as well.

    Also black for the underside of your hat brim, less reflection of the reflection off the snow.

    I agree it is a constitutional right for Americans to be assholes...its just too bad that so many take the opportunity...
    iscariot

  18. #18
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    Beyond Coastal sunscreen. Spf 34 and water resistant for 90 minutes. IIRC It is still ~Spf 30 after 90 min but the rating can't be for any longer of a period. I still get scorched on the bottom of my nose so need to apply there more.

  19. #19
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    Aug 2006
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    keep it bushy.

    my strategy for keeping my chode from sunburning when touring in the high alpine.

  20. #20
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    May 2007
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    Very airy sun shirt with a large jedi-style hood paired with a ball cap.
    Life is not lift served.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by hutash View Post
    The problem with lips and under the nose/nostrils is that it constantly gets wiped off, so you have to constantly reapply. Dermatone for the win since it is a thicker, though I often apply spf 15 chapstick there as well.
    I used to use Dermatone a lot, but (I think) the Sol stuff above is similar but in stick form, which makes it easier to apply to lips and under nose without stopping. Like I mentioned above, I use regular sunblock chapstick first, and then zinc on top, and reapply up to 2-3x per hour. I put a lot on the underside of my nose, and work it into the nostrils with my pinky. YMMV.
    "Alpine rock and steep, deep powder are what I seek, and I will always find solace there." - Bean Bowers

    photos

  22. #22
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    Dec 2006
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    Interesting to see people's opinions and approaches. I think the key is probably constant reapplication.

    Also, I need to always remember to bring wetnaps on multiday trips. It's pretty gross coming back to the car with 15 layers of sunblock, sweat, and general grime on one's face.

    Quote Originally Posted by auvgeek View Post
    I put a lot under my nose, and work it into the nostrils with my pinky.
    That's the classy way of doing it.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by auvgeek View Post
    I used to use Dermatone a lot, but (I think) the Sol stuff above is similar but in stick form, which makes it easier to apply to lips and under nose without stopping. Like I mentioned above, I use regular sunblock chapstick first, and then zinc on top, and reapply up to 2-3x per hour. I put a lot on the underside of my nose, and work it into the nostrils with my pinky. YMMV.
    Dermatone comes in a giant lip balm type tube too. Dermatone and original Bullfrog for the win. They stay on all day in spite of water, sweat and wiping. They're greasy as fuck but so what.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKbruin View Post
    A backcountry turban would be steezy as hell. (Are people still saying "steezy.")
    3F.
    You one steezy motherfucker AKB
    "we all do dumb shit when we're fucked up" mike tyson

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by AaronWright View Post
    Dermatone comes in a giant lip balm type tube too. Dermatone and original Bullfrog for the win. They stay on all day in spite of water, sweat and wiping. They're greasy as fuck but so what.
    Good to know. I'll have to pick some up.

    ETA: the other thing I've been burned by is the gap between my sleeves and gloves. (puns)
    "Alpine rock and steep, deep powder are what I seek, and I will always find solace there." - Bean Bowers

    photos

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