Sun exposure burns and sunscreen habits in elite water sport athletes: Surfers, Windsurfers and Olympic Sailors

  • De Castro Maqueda et al.
High relevance study
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Location: Department of Physical Education, Faculty of Education Sciences, University of Cadiz, Av. Saharawi Republic s / n, Puerto Real, Cadiz, 11519, Spain

Source: Journal of Cancer Education 2019 DOI: 10.1007 / s13187-018-1466-x

Objective: To analyze the sun exposure habits of elite aquatic athletes, along with the history of sunburn and skin exams, taking into account gender and sports differences.

Methodology: Cross-sectional research was conducted at World Championship events, during which elite surfers, windsurfers and Olympic sailors from 30 different countries were invited to participate. Athletes were asked to complete a self-administered questionnaire focused on sun protection habits, sun exposure and sports practice.

Results: 240 athletes, 171 men (71.3%) and 69 women (28.8%), mean age 22 years and skin phototypes I (6.3%), II (3.3%), III (22.0%), IV (32.5%), V (9.2%) and VI (1.7%). There were significant differences between male and female athletes in skin self-examination (p <0.001) and sunglasses (p <0.001). In the history of sunburn last season, there were significant differences (p <0.001) between the three sports analyzed in both sexes. The average rate of sunburn in the previous season was 76.7% and 27.5% of participants reported experiencing three or more sunburn lasting at least 1 day. This type of athlete has a high risk of sunburn and therefore future skin cancer. However, there is a general lack of awareness of this risk.

Conclusion: This study highlights the need to inform these athletes and raise awareness of the dangers through educational interventions on the importance of sunburn protection in order to reduce the future incidence of skin cancer. © 2019, American Cancer Education Association.

SID opinion: 🤙🤙🤙🤙🤙. Skin cancer is a very serious health problem that can be prevented by simple and easy measures. This work shows how often athletes are exposed to UV rays daily and many do not protect themselves. Exposure time should also be better controlled.

SID Tip: Mechanical barriers like hat, clothes, sunglasses are simple measures that keep protection constant. In addition, reapplying sunscreen every hour is also extremely important.