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U of U Dermatologist Partners With Pro Cyclists to Study UV Exposure
Tour of Utah riders to wear special devices to measure UV light exposure during race
Aug 17, 2010 12:16 PM
Salt Lake City — When pro cyclist Chase Pinkham, a local rider from Salt Lake City and a member of the Trek/LIVESTRONG team, takes to the road on Wednesday (Aug. 18) in the 85-mile stage of the Tour of Utah bicycle race, he and members of his team will be carrying an extra piece of equipment designed to help University of Utah dermatology researchers better understand the health risks associated with sun exposure. Pinkham will be wearing a UV dosimeter – a tiny device designed to measure the amount of ultraviolet light each rider is exposed to during the race.
The information gathered by the dosimeter will be studied by University of Utah Health Care dermatologist Christopher Hull, M.D. “Skin cancer is completely preventable but many athletes become so focused on their sport that they forget to protect themselves,” said Hull. “Our goal is to quantify the amount of UV light these athletes are exposed to so we can help them develop strategies to lower their skin cancer risks and limit the other effects of chronic sun exposure.”
He says previous studies have demonstrated that cyclists and triathlon enthusiasts are exposed to extreme levels of UV radiation.
For the recreational outdoor enthusiast, Hull offers the following tips when exercising:
- Avoid exercising between the peak sun hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Dress sensibly and wear clothing designed to absorb or reflect UV light. Note: white fabric, including loose-knit cotton, does not offer much protection.
- When possible, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and seek shaded areas as much as possible.
- Most importantly, wear sunscreen! If you are cycling or participating in athletic activity you should wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Sunscreen should be labeled “broad spectrum” and contain the ingredients: avobenzone, titanium, or zinc.
- Sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before going outside, and then reapplied every 2 hours during exercise or swimming.
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