Melanoma or Sun Gloves — Easy Choice

Post by blogger | August 6, 2012      
Sun protection screen tips and tricks, including clothing.

Sun Screen

The back of the hands is a common place for melanoma. We all know we can protect our faces with sunscreen and hat, and long sleeves cover our arms, but what about hands? On cold days, the manos are safe in gloves of course, but on those fine spring corn-snow days even a light glove may be too much. And then there’s exposure when driving, hiking, stand up paddling, and all those other summer activities normally done without gloves.

Abaco Sun Glove by Glacier Outdoor

Abaco Sun Glove by Glacier Outdoor

I’ve tried slathering my hands with sunscreen, but I don’t like the possibility of the grease coating the insides of my gloves, and it’s a hassle to remember to reapply every time you wash. I’ve found a better solution with sun gloves. They’ve been around for fishing and water sports and they cross over well for skiing. I have a friend who even wears them while she’s swimming laps.

I wore a pair of sun gloves during our European ski trip this past winter. A fingerless lightweight nylon pair fit nicely under my ski gloves and on cold days the extra layer added a smidge of warmth. On toasty days, they were often all I wore. Since they are fingerless, I find I keep them on when normally I’d take off even a thin glove to dig through my pack for an orange to peel.

Sun gloves are available from a number of companies. Two companies provided me with samples during the show in minimalist styles that I like.

Glacier Outdoor has been making gloves for 30 years and have seven styles of sun gloves in their line. The Abaco is a light weight sun glove similar to the ones I wore in Europe. The Lycra/Spandex material slides easily into a heavier glove on cold days. Now that it’s summer, the grey fabric stays cool when hiking and the solid palms are comfortable with trekking poles and adds a bit of protection against blisters. The ample cuff covers the wrist and slips under the sleeves of a long sleeved shirt, offering full 50+ sun protection. The only thing this glove is missing is a clip to keep the pair together when you throw them into a drawer. For the style go-getters, they also come in two fish inspired patterns by artist Val Atkinson: rainbow and brook trout. MSRP $19.99

Buff also has a line of sun gloves developed for water sports. They are made of a heavier nylon blend with a patterned silicone applique on the palms to enhance grip, and provide 50+ protection in both wet and dry conditions. These gloves are designed to be snug-fitting with a waterproof suede tab for pulling on the glove. A small loop at the end of the tab could be used for clipping the gloves together. An improvement would be to provide a clip for keeping the gloves together when not in use. An embedded silicone ridge on the back of the middle finger provides grip for removing the glove. Bright new colors will be available in Spring 2013: Fuchsia, Purple, Brite Blue, Deep Lime, and Light Grey. MSRP $27.

Fuschia sun glove

Buff Water Glove in fuchsia

It’s a good idea to wear full fingered gloves when mountaineering to protect your hands from falls and rough rocks. But consider adding a layer with a fingerless sun glove. On cold days, they’ll give a bit of insulation, and on hot days they provide a cool way to protect your hands from the sun.

When it comes to the dreaded big-C, precaution is way better than cure.

Shop for lightweight Columbia fingerless gloves.

Shop for Buff fingerless gloves, available in fun, vibrant colors.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


22 Responses to “Melanoma or Sun Gloves — Easy Choice”

  1. Julie Kennedy August 6th, 2012 12:31 pm

    Thanks Lisa for the awesome research and update on fingerless sun protection – I’m all about it, as I type these comments with the ten stitches currently on my arm and another basal cell carcinoma to be incised from my back, sun protection can’t be taken lightly, BRAVO!

  2. Selkirk Powder Skiing August 6th, 2012 12:33 pm

    It’s something we don’t often think about but that is pretty true!

  3. Scott August 6th, 2012 12:42 pm

    Great info thanks for the article In the last few years I’ve seen so many new clothing options for lightweight sun protection w/o overheating. You can now buy lightweight longsleeve shirts, hats with capes, arm coverings, and now gloves! It looks like this is finally catching on. About time.

  4. Joe August 6th, 2012 1:38 pm

    Great products! It’s amazing how many drivers in Australia use similar gloves to these, to protect their hands from sun damage but you see nothing of the sort over here.

    Time to channel my inner MJ and rock some driving gloves!

  5. Sue August 6th, 2012 2:25 pm

    I know from first hand experience that the big bad C is nothing to play around with. Precaution is better. Thank you for covering these practical gloves that can also be cute!

  6. Jane August 6th, 2012 4:57 pm

    Those are just what I need. The fish colored ones from Glacier almost look just like my beaten up hands. I think I’ll order them anyway.

  7. Lisa Dawson August 6th, 2012 5:21 pm

    Julie, you’re the one who gave me my first pair, so many thanks for turning me on to these cool items. I wear them constantly when I’m out and about.

  8. Lisa Dawson August 6th, 2012 5:24 pm

    Selkirk Powder Skiing, I bet they’d be handy in your high country especially with your long summer days of sunshine. Hope your having a good summer in your beautiful mountains.

  9. Lisa Dawson August 6th, 2012 5:26 pm

    Sue, you’ll love the colors that Buff is coming out with next spring.

  10. Lisa Dawson August 6th, 2012 5:30 pm

    Jane, Val Atkinson is a gifted photographer and the fish pattern is made from his beautiful fish photos. They will be fun to have.

  11. Julian August 6th, 2012 5:39 pm

    While the gloves no doubt help, melanoma can involve the nail and the skin surrounding the nail bed. The fingerless gloves will not protect those areas. Do they come in full-fingered versions?

  12. Joe John August 6th, 2012 6:28 pm

    Problem with the full-fingered is then you would not be able to appreciate the hot red nails. 🙂

  13. Lou Dawson August 6th, 2012 6:53 pm

    Julian, that’s where the nail polish and some sunscreen are necessary. I think the technique is before you go out in the morning, you do your face sunscreen, then work the excess into your hands, with emphasis on the fingers if you’re using the fingerless gloves. But yes, like Lisa said in her post, many times you might simply want to wear full fingered gloves.

  14. David P August 7th, 2012 1:30 pm

    Julian, I don’t think you are correct- while the nail bed can certainly be involved (although to my knowledge it is quite rare) you can’t get melanoma of the nail itself- the nail is dead tissue; only the nail bed is alive and growing.

  15. Julian August 7th, 2012 2:54 pm

    Yes David, it is the nail bed I was referring to. The nail “plate” is inert. And I could have been more precise instead of saying the “skin surrounding the nail bed” and said the eponychium and the hyponychium. I am a hand surgeon after all, but was just using shorthand terms. I will try to be more precise if that is what is required here.

    Your point that melanoma of these structures is rare is true but I have had to amputate a number of fingers in my career for this condition as well as do a number of nail bed biopsies. It didn’t seem rare to the patients who got it.

    Lou is correct about using sunscreen on the fingertips but the whole point about the glove was to hopefully avoid having to do this. Reapplication of the sunscreen would have to be done more frequently because the fingertips have some of the highest “wipe-off” effect for sunscreen. The fact that full fingered gloves are available make this a tradeoff that you have to decide upon.

  16. Lisa Dawson August 7th, 2012 4:21 pm

    Julian, thanks for sharing your sobering experiences as a hand surgeon.

    It is good to know that fingers should be protected as well. I did not find full full fingered sun gloves by Glacier Outdoor or Buff, but I recall seeing them at the show. If I track them down, I’ll get a pair to test.

    I found some full fingered gloves on Amazon, although we have not tested them.

  17. ellen August 7th, 2012 6:31 pm

    For spring skiing, I just wear a pair of lightweight full fingered mountain bike gloves. They work great.

  18. Lisa Dawson August 7th, 2012 7:01 pm

    Ellen, good idea!

  19. Sue August 7th, 2012 7:25 pm

    Full gloves provide good protection for the manicure too. BTW, what color is that?

  20. Jack August 8th, 2012 10:17 am

    For full fingered gloves in the Spring, I have used “mechanic’s” gloves found at your local big-box hardware store. These usually come in a variety of weights and also can be used for cold-weather cycling. The cost savings make these worth a look.

  21. Nick August 12th, 2012 8:47 am

    Been on the lookout for some lightweight, light coloured gloves for some time. I’ve found that round here mens XL sizes are only stocked in BLACK 🙁

    Yes, I could order online, but I like my gloves to fit my long narrow fingers.

  22. stephen September 10th, 2012 6:34 pm

    ^ The only ones I’ve ever found were some OR liner gloves a few years back which came in grey. They were excellent for spring skiing or walking in summer, etc, but when they wore out only black replacements were available, which are of course much hotter in the sun. Note however, that my hands still gradually tanned through the gloves during the course of a long (6+ weeks) walk.

  Your Comments

  Recent Posts

Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube


  • Blogroll & Links

  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version