Protecting your skin from skin cancer is often associated with being outdoors in the hot summer sun. Yet many of us don’t realize we’re still at risk in the winter, especially around snow or at a higher elevation, which is why professional skier and three-time Olympic medalist Julia Mancuso is working with the American Academy of Dermatology’s (AAD) SPOT Skin Cancer initiative to help get the word out about skin cancer prevention and detection.
“I’m passionate about raising awareness of skin cancer because my grandfather and aunt are dermatologists,” said Julia. “Ever since I was a little girl, my mom instilled in me the importance of protecting my skin from the sun. I follow that advice to this day – on the mountain or off.”
Here are a few of Julia’s tried-and-true tips for protecting your skin while on the slopes:
- Put sunscreen on 15 minutes before going outdoors because it takes time for your skin to absorb the sunscreen and start protecting you.
- When selecting a sunscreen, choose a product that has an SPF 30 or greater with broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection to prevent skin cancer and wrinkles.
- Make sunscreen a part of your ski gear bag so you always have sunscreen with you.
- Don’t forget your nose. I always protect my nose and wear zinc oxide to protect against sunburn.
- Find a time while you are on the slopes to reapply sunscreen every couple of hours because sunscreen wears off. I reapply every time I go into the lodge.
- To make sure you never forget to protect your skin, start your day with a daily moisturizer with sunscreen in it.
- Wear goggles or sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection to protect your eyes.
- Since UV rays are more powerful at a higher altitude and rays reflect off the snow, wear a mask or bandana to protect your face from the sun. Doing so also helps prevent a wicked goggle line.
- Wear a hat. When I am not wearing my helmet on the slopes, I love my trucker hats which help protect my face from the sun.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and current estimates are that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. On average, one person dies from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, every hour, yet melanoma, when caught early, is highly curable.
“We’re thankful that Julia, the most decorated Olympic female alpine skier in America, is putting a spotlight on skin cancer prevention and detection,” said board-certified dermatologist Daniel M. Siegel, MD, FAAD, president of the AAD. “Follow Julia’s lead and be sure to protect your skin when outdoors no matter the time of year. Check your skin regularly for signs of skin cancer. If you spot anything suspicious, see a board-certified dermatologist.”
For more information, visit SpotSkinCancer.org to learn how to perform a skin self-exam, download a body mole map for tracking changes in your skin, and find free skin cancer screenings in your area.