The right sunscreen for triathlon
Doesn’t everyone of us has heard the saying “You look pretty brown.” Often the tan is equated with health, unfortunately, any skin redness caused by the sun is a damage to the skin cells.
Which sunscreen strategy is the most effective for triathletes?
One thing is certain: to prepare the the skin with tanning beds ins winter is not effective. If skin is tanned, UVB will not work, but UVA will. The skin is still aging and the risk of white skin cancer is still present.
UVB radiation causes sunburn if you catch too much of it. It is aggressive but superficial. It doesn´t penetrate through glass or clouds, it filter well and the SPF shown on the sunscreens refers to the UVB radiation. It tells you how much the skin´s own protection prolongs with the sunscreen. The protection factor of 20 means that you can stay in the sun 20 times until you get sunburned. But there is UVA radiation too. It comes through glass and clouds and penetrates 40 times deeper into the skin. To determine how long a sunscreen protects against this radiation, you have to divide the SPF by 5. Therefore dermatologists recommend for the face and other skin areas exposed to the sun should have a factor of 50.
The more effective way is to be creamed several times with waterproof sunscreen before going outside for a longer time. “Waterproof” means, by definition, that after two short baths for each 20 minutes only half of the sunscreen should be left on the skin.
A diet can also help, for example beta carotene. It’s found in carrots. Since sunburn is an inflammation, it is recommended that you take in zinc through your diet. In addition, antioxidants, especially vitamin E and C.
So triathletes need special athlete products against the sun?
No. Often sunscreen creams are a bit richer. You do not want to have it on your skin when you sweat a lot. As a recommendation, you can use a gel or spray, which have a lighter consistency.
The biggest mistake that almost everyone makes is to apply too little sunscreen. For triathletes the most vulnerable areas are shoulders and neck. It should not be forgotten when creaming under any circumstances. In addition, backs, arms, ears, places near the clothing and the backs of the feet.
In addition, clothes also help. If fabric is opaque, no UV light gets through. For this reason triathlon one-pieces are a good thing, because they protect the shoulders and upper arms. If they are also aerodynamically advantageous: its even better. ; -)
After the competition?
The incidence of skin tumors in recent years has increased rapidly, including malignant melanoma (black skin cancer) and the so-called white skin cancer (basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma).
The risk of developing skin cancer increases with the lifetime acquired UV dose and is therefore usually only recognizable in old age.
Why the rapid increase? As we grow older, our life expectancy increases. Our leisure time behavior has changed, more and more outdoor sports are in vogue and we often travel to sunny countries in the cold seasons.
The only effective prevention is consistent sun protection. This not only includes the sunscreen, but also the textile sunscreen.
Our skin type plays an important role, everyone should be informed and, moreover, knowledge of the UV index is desirable.
Source: triathlon-tipps.de / Unispital Zurich and AWMF guideline Skin Cancer Prevention, translated from German