New York, NY (March 13, 2014) – The 2014 Winter Olympics may be over, but skiing and snowboarding remain top of mind for winter sports enthusiasts around the world. US Alpine Skier and Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Ted Ligety reminds us how important it is to practice sun safety year-round, even during the winter months. Despite cold temperatures, clouds and dreary weather, winter sports lovers are still at risk for sun damage and skin cancer.
Snow reflects up to 80 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Subsequently, you are often hit by the same rays twice. Additionally, up to 80 percent of UV rays burn right through the clouds. Skiers and snowboarders are at an even greater risk, as their sports take place at a higher altitude, where the thinner atmosphere absorbs less UV radiation. Sun exposure increases four to five percent with every 1,000 feet above sea level.
"During winter months most people think about frostbite and windburn, often forgetting that UV rays are just as dangerous in the cold and on the slopes," said Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Alpine Skier Ted Ligety. "When I’m outdoors, I make sure to practice proper sun protection, including wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen and UV-blocking shades.”
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US, and more than 90 percent of all skin cancers are associated with sun exposure. It is also highly preventable—adopting a complete sun protection regimen can drastically reduce the risk.
The Skin Cancer Foundation and U.S. Olympian Ted Ligety recommend these tips to protect your skin while outdoors this winter:
- Use a broad-spectrum (UBA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher whenever you spend extended time outdoors, and reapply every two hours to all exposed areas. A nickel-sized amount provides adequate protection for the face.
- Don’t forget to cover often-missed spots: the lips, ears, around the eyes, and on the neck, the underside of chin, scalp and hands.
- Use a moisturizing sunscreen with ingredients like lanolin or glycerin. Winter conditions can be particularly harsh on the skin.
- Protect your lips by wearing a lip balm with an SPF 30 or higher.
- Cover up with clothing. Wear items like ski masks, which will leave very little skin exposed to the wind and sun. Look for sunglasses or goggles that offer 99 percent or greater UV protection and have wraparound or large frames, which will protect your eyes, eyelids and the sensitive skin around your eyes— all common sites for skin cancers and sun-induced aging.
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Carla Barry-Austin (212-725-5641; firstname.lastname@example.org)
Emily Prager (212-725-5176; email@example.com)
About The Skin Cancer Foundation
The Skin Cancer Foundation is the only global organization solely devoted to the prevention, early detection and treatment of skin cancer. The mission of the Foundation is to decrease the incidence of skin cancer through public and professional education and research. Since its inception in 1979, the Foundation has recommended following a complete sun protection regimen that includes seeking shade and covering up with clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses, in addition to daily sunscreen use. For more information, visit SkinCancer.org.