sun protection products reviewed

Sun protection for skin and eyes

By Joan Wenner

The sun wreaks havoc on a boater’s skin and eyes despite our best efforts with sunscreen and protective accessories. To put our best faces, backs, arms, legs and feet forward, we must look to affordable skin care products to use after long days onboard and the right sunglasses to protect our eyes from the sun’s glare.

Udderly Smooth skin creams
From $1.75 to $8.75


    • Affordable
    • Skin-soothing
    • Good for dry or chapped skin


    • None

For your skin

Out of the boatload of skin creams on the market, some have novel ingredients from around the world, while others feature tried-and-true ingredients, such as aloe vera. Aloe’s major skin-soothing and -healing properties help defend against damage done by the unforgiving marine environment. The spiky green plant can heal skin damaged from overexposure to UV rays.

One such skin cream, Udderly Smooth, has been manufactured in Salem, Ohio, by family-owned and -operated Redex Industries for more than 30 years. Udderly Smooth’s affordable aloe vera formula is especially terrific after you’ve spent the day on the water or working on a DIY project aboard your boat. I originally ­discovered the cream in my local pharmacy, though it’s widely available.

The aloe vera-formulated Udderly Smooth hand and body lotion, which soothes the sting of sunburns, emits a beachy fragrance. The company advises keeping a jar in the fridge to slather on your skin for a quick cooling effect. In addition to its original and aloe vera formulas, the company offers one with shea butter and several others. Prices range from $1.75 on up, and their product roster includes foot creams (for those beach feet) and other moisturizing lotions.

Onos sunglasses
Starting at $49.99


    • Polarized
    • Reduce glare
    • Come in regular, reader or prescription
    • 100 percent UVA and UVB protection


    • Pricey

For your eyes

Inexpensive sunglasses abound, but many outdoor enthusiasts opt for higher-quality brands that provide exceptional protection. Polarized lenses have a UV-protective coating that reduces glare from shiny non-metallic surfaces. The lenses enhance color perception and contrast and protect against vertical UV rays coming from the sun and horizontal light reflected off the water.

I have personally field-tested Onos sunglasses, an established brand headquartered in Mobile, Alabama. The company not only makes high-quality polarized regular and prescription sunglasses that reduce glare and give you crisp, sharp visual acuity, it also sells reader sunglasses for those needing some magnification with low-profile bifocals. Available magnification ranges from +1.50 to +2.50. With 100 percent UVA and UVB protection, these readers come in handy when lounging on deck reading, beached on a sandbar, viewing a helm display and tying fishing lures. They provide a full range of vision while bringing close-up details into focus at a glance. They come in a sturdy black hard case for safe stowing and include a retainer cord.

Following the manufacturer’s care and cleaning instructions, such as using a little soapy water and a lint-free soft cloth, helps prevent scratches.

Joan Wenner is a longtime marine safety writer with a law degree.

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