“Now it is pleasant to hunt something that you want very much over a long period of time, being outwitted, out-maneuvered, and failing at the end of each day, but having the hunt and knowing every time you are out that, sooner or later, your luck will change and that you will get the chance that you are seeking. But it is not pleasant to have a time limit by which you must get your kudu or perhaps never get it, nor even see one. It is not the way hunting should be.”
-Earnest Hemmingway, Green Hills of Africa
Whether you are hunting antelope in Wyoming, wild boar in Texas, or white tail deer in Wisconsin, your skin needs basic attention. It might seem a bit odd to talk about hunters and skincare, but we can put ourselves at increased risk for aging and skin cancer by ignoring the issue. Additionally, being exposed to the elements for long periods of time, as hunters are, can be especially damaging to our skin.
Unless you live in the Rocky Mountains, you might not realize the high elevation mixed with a semi-arid environment quickly dries out skin. Being at higher elevations means the air naturally has less oxygen and ends up evaporating moisture faster than some other environments. Higher elevation also correlates to increased concentration of UV rays from the sun, which is also dangerous to skin. More sun rays means more damage to your skin which can cause skin cancer. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, an estimated 161,000+ cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in 2017. Of those, 9,500 melanomas are diagnosed per day and 9,700 people will die in 2017. Medical grade sunscreen with a moisturizer is a tool that can combat both sun damage and dry skin. A great option is from a company called EltaMD. They have a broad-spectrum SPF 46 sunscreen called UV Clear with hyaluronic acid to help keep your skin moist and niacinamide to slow down aging. It’s one thing to do every couple of hours or as needed when you’re in the field. No big deal.
When hunting in more humid environments like Louisiana, Florida, or certain areas of Texas, the issue is not how dry your skin can get. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Assuming you are taking care of yourself and wearing sunscreen, the issue can be having your pores get clogged with dirt and oil. Walking or sitting in a blind is probably going to get hot and you’re going to sweat. This can cause acne. Yes, the pimples of yesteryear can come back in a hurry. Getting dirt on your face and not having the right kind of cleanser can combine to cause a breakout. An easy way to slow it down or stop it to use the right tool for the job. Don’t scrub your face with Irish Spring, Dial, or even your wife’s Dove. These soaps tend to be harsh and are not tailored to individual skin types. Check out a brand called Epionce. They make an amazing cleanser called Lytic Gel Cleanser. It has salicylic acid which will pull dirt and oil off your face without drying it out and a bunch of anti-inflammatory agents to slow down any acne. This face wash is also great to use post shaving or after a workout.
We’ve talked about hiking in the mountains and walking through the swamp, but what if you are hunting deer in the Midwest? As a general rule, it’s going to be cold. While your hunting gear may be keeping you warm, your exposed skin is taking a beating. The face, neck, and hands are areas often left the most exposed. Assuming you are now wearing sunblock and have a good cleanser we need to look at the next issue. Wind can actually “burn” your face by pulling moisture out of it. When this happens, your skin starts a “cascade” effect of inflammation. This inflammation can result in premature aging, wrinkles, sun spots and acne. As you’ve guessed, we have a few simple fixes for this. We are assuming you are putting sunscreen on your face at this point, so another simple fix is to use a serum with anti-oxidants. Use it right after you shower and before putting on sunscreen. Elite Facial Cream Ultra Lite is a great moisturizer with Vitamins A, C, and E, CoQ10, and Green Tea. This combination of anti-oxidants and moisturizing agents will help protect your skin against the harsh elements you will face.
What the Dr. says
We always like to check our facts. So, we called hunting enthusiast and board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Stephen Goldstein to get his thoughts on hunting and skincare: “Because of the hours spent in nature and the exposure to the elements including solar radiation it is even more essential for hunters to use skincare. Sunscreen and a proper regimen will not only slow down aging, but will help prevent cancer.” Well, there you have it. Good advice coming from both a fellow hunter and physician. Probably a good idea to take his advice. Just saying.
Remember, it is very important to take care of your skin, especially when hunting. After all, who wants to look like the game you are hunting? To preserve and protect your skin for the long term takes an extra minute or two before you go to bed and two minutes to apply sunscreen before heading out. These five minutes or less a day could save your life. Please reach out to us with questions! We create custom skin care systems for guys with high quality, effective, easy to use products.
To the hunt,
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