The Melanoma Fund has teamed up with the UK’s leading snow sports organisations to get those heading to the slopes this season to improve their sun protection habits, to avoid the risk of sun damage and skin cancer. During summer sports, we know that sunscreen sweats, washes, and rubs off easily, meaning we must reapply more often. However, snow and strong winds erode sunscreen even faster, exposing skin to the intense UV rays, found at high altitudes.
For every 1,000ft above sea level, UV intensity increases by about 5%. Multiply that by the altitude of your resort and you could be exposed to 40% or more intense UV radiation.
With fresh snow reflecting up to 85% of UV radiation, a sunny day on slopes at high altitude can triple the usual risk of sunburn, sun damage and ultimately, skin cancer.
The risk of snow blindness, or inflammation of the surface of the eye, is also greatly enhanced”. Professor Brian Diffey
The Melanoma Fund created Sunguarding Sport in 2020, providing sun protection guidelines for all in sport and outdoor recreation, now used by hundreds of NGBs and outdoor organisations. This season, the charity has collaborated with GB Snowsport, Snowsport England, Snowsport Wales, Ski Club of Great Britain, and leading UK ski travel agents to promote the following tips:
- Apply a broad-spectrum SPF30+ water resistant product, paying special attention to all exposed skin.
- Reapply every 2 hours (or each time you break) to ensure full protection.
- The sun is strongest between 11am and 3pm depending on the season and your location, so pay special attention during this time.
- Avoid damage to eyes by wearing good quality ‘UV protection’ lenses. If switching from goggles to glasses, remember to protect newly exposed skin.
- Wearing a helmet not only offers crash protection, but also ensures that your forehead, scalp, and ears are sun protected.
Say’s Michelle Baker, CEO of the Melanoma Fund; “If you’re into your skincare, remember that over exposure to the sun can undo all that amazing work, making us look weathered, and at risk of skin cancer. It really is simple – remember to apply and reapply your SPF.”\
Chris Scott, Head of External Relations at GB Snowsport; “Nobody knows better than our athletes and coaches that exposure to the sun can be a real issue out on the slopes. GB Snowsport is proud to support the Melanoma Fund’s Sunguarding Sport campaign, which provides excellent tips for both the seasoned professional and those getting out on snow for the first time.”
Jade Gerrard, Participation Manager at Snowsport England says; “Creating new routines on the slopes is easier once you understand the rationale behind it, which is why we are keen to support this important advice. Get out there, have fun, but protect your skin as you would other part of your body.”
For further tips on protecting skin on the slopes, visit Sunguarding Sport in this link.
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Featured Image: Skiing in Alta Badia- photo credits: IDM Sudtirol Alex Moling.
Snow sport fans advised to adopt the ‘reapply rule’