Be honest, how often do you apply and then reapply sunscreen when you workout or train? According to new studies, athletes are at a higher risk for skin damage.
Researchers think intense training exacerbates athletes’ risks of skin damage. In the study on marathon runners, it was suggested that their training regime may have left them more vulnerable by lowering their immunity. Although not precisely understood, some experts think that the kind of physical trauma resulting from hard workouts can trigger the release of cytokines, proteins that might limit the ability of the immune system to fight potential cancers.
Sweat can make matters worse. Any kind of moisture on the skin reduces damaging UV light to shorter wavelengths that are more easily absorbed. This lowers the minimal erythema dose, the lowest ultraviolet (UV) light exposure or level of radiation needed to turn the skin a risky shade of pink, making sunburn more likely.
A study last year showed that 40% of BCCs appear around the nose. “That is partly because the nose protrudes from the face, making it more exposed,” Dr Shergill says. “But also because sweat runs down the nose removing any sunscreen that is applied.”
Dermatologists advise wearing sunscreen from April through to late September and on all bright days at other times of the year, applying factor 50 half an hour before an outdoor session. Look for a brand with UVA and UVB protection and children’s sunscreens do the job for adults and are cheaper because no VAT is added. Clothing with integrated SPF is not worth the expense.
“An SPF 15 fabric only provides protection for around 15 minutes in strong sunlight,” Dr Shergill says. “Remember that sunscreen starts to lose effectiveness at about the two-hour mark, sooner if you are sweating heavily. Stick formulations are good to carry with you.”
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