When we are young and youthful and carefree, it’s easy to live in the moment and not think of what is in store for the future. Now, this could apply to many things, your career, your love life, or your entire view of your existence, unable to understand why we are here, what it means to be human, and what is the nature of reality. But today, I want to talk about something much less dramatic than that, but still life altering.
PROTECTING YOUR SKIN.
Why am I talking about skin care on a horse blog? Because this is super important to you, as an equestrian. Unless you live in the riding biodome, you spent a ton of time out in the sun. Your horse lives outside, you ride outside, trails are outside, shows are outside, nearly everything is outside. Now, I know that barns and indoor arenas exist, but at some point, you’re going to be outside.
Why does being outside matter? Because of THE SUN.
Sure, the sun brings us life and warmth, and cinematic evenings spent down at the beach, wondering if you’ll ever get over the untimely death of your pet hamster so you can learn to love again, but it also brings us sunburn. It brings us premature aging and skin cancer. The sun is no joke.
So why am I specifically bringing up equestrians? We all know the sun does really mean things to us, despite us never doing anything mean to it. It’s a message that’s basically injected straight into our brains.
Well. it’s because have you seen the way some equestrians look??? Some of them look like they are about to get skin cancer right in front of you.
I don’t know if it’s something about being outside all day, or just too busy focusing on horses, but horse people have some of the worst skin I’ve ever seen. Some of these people look like they’ve spent every moment of their life in a tanning bed… because they kind of have been. They’ve been frying out in the sun.
But it’s not just older people. Does this sound familiar? “Oh haha, I have the equestrian tan! It’s just my face and my arms, minus my hands!” Sure, it’s a hilarious look, but you’re going to very slowly notice that the quality of the skin on your arms is going to become very rough.
I think it’s easy to dismiss sunscreen because we don’t see the accumulative damage, we only see today. Today, it’s just a little bit darker. But let’s say you ride outside 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week, which is a casual rider. That’s 120 minutes, or 2 hours, of skin damage a week. 8 hours of skin damage a month. Let’s say it’s just the 7 good riding months of the year, that’s 56 hours of sun damage a year. And this is just for a very casual rider, and doesn’t even count the rest of the time someone spends catching a horse in the field, standing around talking to someone, outside at a show, and just time you spent outside in your non-horse life. Add all that up and those numbers are going to go up very fast. Each year, the hours grow. It’s not just the minutes that week, it’s the years of skin damage that will catch up to you.
If you’re young, now is the time to use sunscreen. When your skin is still young and smooth years from now, you’ll be thrilled you did. If you’re older and already have skin damage, now is the time to start wearing it. Prevent future skin damage and try to heal your skin as best you can.
If you don’t like the feeling of sunscreen (which I personally do not) try using a facial sunscreen like this amazon brand Sheer Facial Sunscreen. Pretty cheap, and not very greasy. If you don’t like how long it takes to apply, try a spray on sunscreen like this one, Choose a sunscreen with the highest level of SPF you can. SPF means how long it will last, so if you use a lower number, you’re going to be reapplying more often.
Other than sunscreen, another really simple way of protecting your skin is to wear a hat. Very easy to use, you just plunk it right on your head. You could use a baseball hat, but for maximum protection get a wide brimmed hat. I bought this one this year, and I wear it everywhere, not just the barn. I am often the only person wearing a hat, which is a weird feeling, but I got used to it.
I’ve been taking sun protection very seriously this whole year, and I do think it’s made a difference in how my skin looks. It can be annoying at times to coat myself in sunscreen, but it’s too important to miss.
My daughter notices me put on sunscreen, and now she asks for it, too. I love that it’s becoming a habit for her to wear it. Hopefully it’ll be one that she keeps for life.
Now it’s time for you to make it your habit for life.