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Sun Protection from a Dermatologist

Old 06-06-10, 01:36 PM
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Jesskramer
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Sun Protection from a Dermatologist

Friends,

I posted this in the long distance cycling forum, my ususal hangout, and it was suggested that the touring group might like this also.

I am a Dermatologist and a cyclist in California. I see and treat skin cancer every day in my office, especially on the face, ears and neck.

I have been seeking a way to fully protect my ears and neck and have as little facial skin exposed that would need sun screen... (SPF 70 by the way)

I see enough really horrible skin cancer that it is easy for me to wear a long sleeve jersey and long cycling tights even in the summer. I even wear full finger gloves...

I share with you a new accessory for my helmet. It is a vented sun cape that meets and exceed my design requirements. Those requirements are, full sun protection, venting and light weight fabric....the only downside is it is a little dorky looking... but if you saw the skin cancer that I see in my Dermatology office every day that would not bother you very much. I look dorky enough to begin with because I am wearing long sleeves and long tights anyway

I use the detachable sun cape from an Outdoor Reasearch SunRunner hat ( $30 at REI )
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The only modification was the cutting off of the cape snap tabs and cutting 1/8 inch holes to fit between where the plastic helmet harness snaps into the body of the helmet. I removed the helmet chin strap and threaded it through the upper rear vent of the cape, It is a lot easiet to do than to verbally explain

Comments appreciated,

Jesse
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Old 06-06-10, 02:09 PM
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I've been doing it for years.

Long sleeves, long pants, ski liner gloves.
Bandana under a cap with a wide rim - dark undersurface.

I may look like a dork, but with red hair and fair skin -
I cannot afford to do otherwise.
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Old 06-06-10, 04:53 PM
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My desert outfit:
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Old 06-06-10, 07:25 PM
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Interesting:

Please describe they type of people who are getting skin cancer? Are they individuals who sun bathe? Do they visit tanning salons? I wonder if there are stats on cyclist getting skin cancer?
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Old 06-06-10, 07:44 PM
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Over the years, I have increasingly covered up on bike tours. And not only for cancer prevention. I found that the sun beating down on my skin wiped me out. A few days riding in the hot sun, and I needed a day to sleep.

These days, I wear a long sleeved jersey, and a bandanna over the back of the neck and ears. But I continue to wear knee-length shorts. What is the risk of developing skin cancers on the legs?

By the way, now that I cover up, I no longer "crash" after a couple of days.
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Old 06-06-10, 08:57 PM
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Dahon.Steve,

Cyclists ARE sunbathers

Sunlight IS radiation..everyone has their own individual threshold cumulative dose, that once exceeded leads to cancer formation.

I am just sharing what I do, because I see horrible skin cancer each week.

We each make our own risk calculations

Jesse
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Old 06-06-10, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
I wonder if there are stats on cyclist getting skin cancer?
Weren't there some Pros riding around with little UV exposure badges on their helmets last year? For some reason, I want to say that Dave Zabriskie might have been one of them. Initial indications were that the guys who were doing it were getting significantly more UV exposure than recommended. The number was really incredible: something like thirty times more UV?!?
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Old 06-06-10, 11:58 PM
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As a dermatologist using SPF 70, what do you think of the regulations limiting sunscreen labels to 50+ in the EU and 30+ in Australia? I hear the reason is that higher numbers are meaningless or inaccurate. Also, when you tour, do you stop every 80 minutes or however long your sunscreen is rated to reapply? Is it true you should use about 1/3 teaspoon on your face?
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Old 06-07-10, 12:05 AM
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I use something I made that it is a pretty similar but it is a little hot. How hot is this setup you wear? Thanks!
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Old 06-07-10, 07:21 AM
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iain.dalton

Use the highest rated you can get.
Yes reapply often
Yes apply VERY liberally

Jesse
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Old 06-07-10, 07:23 AM
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TulsaJohn

My getup is very cool, at least temperature wise

Jesse
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Old 06-08-10, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Jesskramer View Post
TulsaJohn

...at least temperature wise

Jesse
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Old 06-08-10, 03:09 PM
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I usually wear a $1.50 white long sleeve shirt from the thrift store (my current one is armani, and very lightweight and cool what can i say ). This is approximately SPF-8 but has the benefit of not sweating off or breaking down like chemical screens.

Had a premalignant hairy nevus/melanoma removed from my arm about 15 years ago, so I try to be careful in the sun...
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Old 06-08-10, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Jesskramer View Post
Friends,

I posted this in the long distance cycling forum, my ususal hangout, and it was suggested that the touring group might like this also.

I am a Dermatologist and a cyclist in California. I see and treat skin cancer every day in my office, especially on the face, ears and neck.
Jesse


Question for you...does someone from India who tans easily and has dark skin that doesn't burn stand an equal risk of skin cancer as a Caucasian given the same levels of sun exposure? The two people in the photo above for example...
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Old 06-08-10, 07:20 PM
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Do any vitamins, creams, lotions or whatever help in promoting skin health
and thereby reduce the chances of developing cancer? I'm not referring to sunscreen, but to the various concoctions you hear on infomercials that supposedly remove wrinkles and make women look 20 years younger. I remember at one time vitamin E plus aloe rubbed on your skin twice a day was supposed to prevent skin cancer.
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Old 06-08-10, 09:41 PM
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"Question for you...does someone from India who tans easily and has dark skin that doesn't burn stand an equal risk of skin cancer as a Caucasian given the same levels of sun exposure? The two people in the photo above for example..."

Vik... love your blog

If you have formed a tan the damage is already done, you can get skin cancer. The formation of the tan is your skin responding to the UV assault on your skin DNA. The Tan is your skin trying to protect itself from the next radiation assault

We all have our threshold dose, the more fair you are the lower the cancer forming cumulative threshold dose. Your risk is lower than you fairer friend

I remove skin cancers from individuals with your coloring regularly. Cyclists, especially long distance cyclists are getting huge UV doses

Jesse
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Old 06-08-10, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by bagster View Post
Do any vitamins, creams, lotions or whatever help in promoting skin health
and thereby reduce the chances of developing cancer? I'm not referring to sunscreen, but to the various concoctions you hear on infomercials that supposedly remove wrinkles and make women look 20 years younger. I remember at one time vitamin E plus aloe rubbed on your skin twice a day was supposed to prevent skin cancer.
Nope, they are not effective at all.

Jesse
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Old 06-08-10, 09:55 PM
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As a resident of the skin cancer capital of the universe, I also wonder whether cycling jerseys offer all that much protection from the sun -- even in the parts that are covered up. Also, do skin cancers only appear on the skin that has been exposed to the sun? Or can they turn up anywhere? I ask because I had a mole removed from my back a couple of years ago -- although it turned out to be benign. The thing is, my back is NEVER exposed to the sun -- I even wear a shirt to the beach.

One other question -- I heard somewhere that most of the damage leading to skin cancer is done in the first 12 years of life. How accurate is that? If that is the case, I'm probably screwed anyway.
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Old 06-08-10, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris L View Post
As a resident of the skin cancer capital of the universe...
Seriously, the Australian sun is the meanest anywhere in the world. I've lived in Africa for 6 years, Australia for 7, and the US for 5 & 6 years, and as a ginger, the Australian sun was absolutely killer. 10-15 minutes outside in a light colored t-shirt or polo, and I would be burned underneath. In the last 6 years I've lived in Oklahoma, I've been burned only a handful of times. When I go on camping trips, or to the lake, people wonder why I'll sit miles away from everyone under a tree or umbrella or in a murderously hot tent. Sunburn is a pain in the ass, and skin cancer is a scary and likely scenario. I always wear a base layer under my jersey, on top of sunscreen. I'm thinking about buying a pair of lightweight knickers to protect the tops of my knees.
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Old 06-08-10, 11:10 PM
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I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Jesse for taking the time to create this post and another one just like it in the Long Distant board, and for taking the time to answer many of our questions. Your post of gotten me thinking about this issue and armed me with information so that I can better protect myself in the future. Good work sir!
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Old 06-09-10, 03:40 AM
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I grew up in Queensland in Australia as a kid. Even 35 years ago we were getting the skin cancer message. A few weekends ago I was on a rooftop on a rare sunny day in my new part of the world. The English woman with me moved around the roof as the day progressed, so did I, however for opposite reasons, she was trying to stay in the sun.

z
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Old 06-09-10, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Jesskramer View Post
"Question for you...does someone from India who tans easily and has dark skin that doesn't burn stand an equal risk of skin cancer as a Caucasian given the same levels of sun exposure? The two people in the photo above for example..."

Vik... love your blog

If you have formed a tan the damage is already done, you can get skin cancer. The formation of the tan is your skin responding to the UV assault on your skin DNA. The Tan is your skin trying to protect itself from the next radiation assault

We all have our threshold dose, the more fair you are the lower the cancer forming cumulative threshold dose. Your risk is lower than you fairer friend

I remove skin cancers from individuals with your coloring regularly. Cyclists, especially long distance cyclists are getting huge UV doses

Jesse
Thanks for the kind words about the blog and advice...I spend a lot of time in the sun...biking and at the beach...hmmm....I better start getting some check ups!
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Old 06-09-10, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris L View Post
I also wonder whether cycling jerseys offer all that much protection from the sun -- even in the parts that are covered up.

Also, do skin cancers only appear on the skin that has been exposed to the sun? Or can they turn up anywhere? I

One other question -- I heard somewhere that most of the damage leading to skin cancer is done in the first 12 years of life. How accurate is that? If that is the case, I'm probably screwed anyway.
Chris L,

The UV protection offered by clothing is simply a function of how much light passes through the fabric, the tighter the weave the better. Most cycling jerseys are pretty tight weave. You can hold the fabric to the sun and check

Skin cancer can definitely show up where the sun does not shine. The immune system of the skin destroys skin cancers as they form. The cells of the skin are dividing all the time and cancers spontaneously form, this is normal, and a healthy skin immune system handles this. With UV radiation you get a double injury, Cell DNA is damaged where the UV hits, leading to more cancer formation, and the immune function of the skin in terms of cancer control is also damaged, so you are left with increased cancer formation anf decreased inborn ability to fight and destroy those cancer cells

Generally speaking we get most of our sun exposure in the first 15 years of life, when we are children playing outside, as we grow up we work and have less leisure time outdoors. Long distance cyclists are an obvious exception to this "first 15 year" rule of thumb

Jesse
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Old 06-09-10, 09:53 AM
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To add two more exceptions to this rule of thumb, I worked outside as a marine biologist for a number of years, that increased my exposure. I also surfed for 5 years, on the aforementioned Skin Cancer Capital of the Universe. I go to doctors every year or two, and they pull out their little canisters of acetone and dry ice, and freeze spots of my skin. Been getting that done since I turned 35, about 10 years ago.

z
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Old 06-09-10, 10:08 AM
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i'll probably ditch my helmet (with mirror) and use my Frillneck (www.frillneck.com.au) cap instead...
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