How to prevent sunburn and skin cancer

In August 2007, Amber Neben's husband found some flaws on her back, which were irregular in shape and uneven in color. At the time, Neben was 32 years old and won two Olympic and World Championship time trials. After a period of observation, Neben was finally diagnosed with melanoma. Neben said: "I was very young and thought that everything I did was right. I never thought about applying sunscreen on my back, thinking that the protection of clothes is enough."


Although the lesion needs to be treated by deep surgery, Neben's treatment is timely. "I am the first driver I know of this disease," Neben said. But I am afraid she is not the only one. In the past 30 years, the incidence of skin cancer has increased year by year compared with other types of cancer. In 2002 and 2009, cases of melanoma (the most deadly form of disease) increased at a rate of 2% per year, developing into the most common form of cancer in the 25 to 29 age group.


Numerous studies have shown that frequent exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun can significantly increase the risk of melanoma, especially for outdoor endurance athletes who are prone to skin cancer. Although there are not many studies on cycling, we should also have self-knowledge because most of the cycling activities are carried out in direct sunlight.

A study published in the Journal of Dermatology stated that in the eight stages of the Swiss Tournament, the driver was exposed to harmful UV radiation levels, more than 30 times the recommended value. There are also a number of factors that exacerbate the risk. For example, sweat in the ride increases the sensitivity of the skin, resulting in the absorption of more intense UV radiation. Another worrying fact is that 90% of skin aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles, is caused by sunlight.


Too much sun exposure can also affect your riding ability. The skin plays a vital role in sweating and evaporation to maintain body temperature. Severe sunburn can damage the sweat glands and cause the body to overheat. A large part of the blood will be repaired to the sunburned and sunburned skin, which will cause the body to lose heat and cold. The result is that riding becomes more difficult and difficult to play.

Of course, everyone should not be too alarmed and take appropriate protective measures. The benefits of riding far outweigh the risks. The following is to teach you how to do well:

Keep an eye on your skin

Go to the dermatology department for a baseline check, especially if you have had any sunburn and peeling experience, or when there are more than 30 ticks. The doctor can determine how much sun damage you have received and tell you how often you need to check. Neben now goes to the oncology and dermatology departments twice a year. Regular inspections are the best preventive measure.

How to self-check

The National Cancer Institute of the United States has a way to distinguish between sputum and melanoma, using the letter A-E as the index:

A: Asymmetrical shape

B: Border is irregular

C: Color is uneven (uneven color)

D: Diameter is usually ?" or larger (diameter is usually 5-6mm or larger)

E: Evolving size, shape, or color (size, shape or color will change)


Know the danger zone

Melanoma usually occurs in the neck, behind the ear, etc., where it is often exposed to the sun. When you ride a bicycle, it is just the part of the back that receives sunlight. This is also why Neben's melanoma will appear on the back.

Block sunlight

Do not have any excuses. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, if you have more than 5 sunburn experiences, your risk of melanoma will double, and squamous cell carcinoma can be achieved with sunscreens with SPF 15 or higher. The incidence of melanoma is reduced by 40%-50%. Many brands have related products using cycling pants with UV protection.

Learn about product labels

Products with "broad spectrum" function can be purchased, which usually block both UVB (the main cause of sunburn) and UVA (related to skin damage, aging and cancer). In addition, any product claiming a sun protection index higher than 50 has the suspicion of false propaganda, and do not blindly pursue a high index. (Domestic regulations can not exceed 30 sun protection index)

The right way to use sunscreen

The dermatologist recommends applying sunscreen 20 minutes before riding. When conditions permit, it should be reapplied every 1-2 hours. You can put a portable sunscreen in your pocket and use it at the intersection and rest stop. If you are riding at a high altitude, the amount of radiation will increase by 5% for every 300m increase in altitude. You need to be more vigilant.

Master the correct amount of usage

A 2012 study showed that many people did not reach the standard dose when using sunscreen, which would greatly reduce the effectiveness of sunscreen. The best way to do this is to apply it again after 20 minutes to ensure that the sunscreen provides complete protection.

Remember scalp protection

Many cyclists ignore the protection of the scalp, because the vents on the helmet will still transmit radiation. Even if you have thick hair, the radiation can still shine on your scalp. The best way is to spray liquid in the head. Sunscreen, or wear a hat or wrap a headscarf inside the helmet.

Protect your lips

Apply lip balm before each ride and always replenish it, especially the lower lip (81% of the lip cancer occurs in the lower lip).

Choose riding time

It is best to ride before 10am and after 2pm, try to avoid the sun when it is the biggest.

Keep your body comfortable

When riding in the hot sun, be careful to replenish water and replenish it every 15 to 20 minutes. If you want to reduce the discomfort caused by sunburn, you can take anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.

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