It is a known fact that ultraviolet radiation (aka: sun exposure) increases the risk of skin cancer. Additionally, genetics, immunology, and skin pigmentation also play a role in the increased risk for getting skin cancer.
Athletes, especially marathon runners, hikers, and tennis players, exceed the amount of recommended ultraviolet exposure during the summer months. But anyone who trains or performs sports outside, whether in the summer months or winter months, is exposed to the dangers of skin melanomas.
Sand, water, and especially snow can reflect UV rays from the sun by up to eighty percent (80%). Skiers and snowboarders need to keep this in mind because with the high percentage of exposure in combination with the elevated altitude, the winter sun can be just a damaging while on the slopes than it is while spending a day at the beach in the middle of July.Read More »
Know the facts
- Melanomas in men are likely to be first detected on their chest and back. However, women first detect melanomas on the legs.
- At any time in your life, if you experienced one a bad sunburn (that caused skin to blister), a person’s risk for melanoma can double.
- The risk of getting cancer of the skin can increase by 20% if indoor tanning beds are used regularly.
- Skin cancers can be effectively treated when detected early, so conduct regular self-exams of your skin – noting any new moles or changes in color, size, or irregular borders to existing moles.
- Below are some important tips on how to protect your skin regardless of the time of year or the outdoor sports activity you are participating in.
Skin protection for Athletes
- Train early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Avoid practicing during peak hours of the day (between 10am and 4pm).
- Seek shade whenever possible.
- Use sunglasses and hats with a wide brim when outside to protect your eyes and face.
- Choose natural radiation blockers for your face such as zinc oxide or oxide plus titanium dioxide as many chemical based sunscreens will melt as you perspire and burn your eyes.
- Wear dark colored tight woven fabric as this offers a little more protection than light colored loose fitted clothing.
- Apply water-resistant sunscreen generously – not forgetting your ears. Apply 15 min prior to going outside and then reapply even two hours (even on days that are overcast).