Written on August 9, 2013 at 9:57 am , by Samantha Shelton
Landon Donovan, David Beckham and, of course, the soon-to-be Bachelor, Juan Pablo – soccer players have the sleek physique we love to look at. But one thing all that hard work in the sun is doing (besides giving them chiseled abs)? Wrecking their skin. So Donovan, one of the top pro players for the LA Galaxy, teamed up with The Skin Cancer Foundation to help spread the word and prevent the red (Seriously, his pose to the right is cute, but we prefer less color). After years of sweating on the field all day without protection, one close-to-home diagnosis became a critical wake-up call. Find out what it is, and how he suggests getting the special guy in your life to slather on the sunscreen without being a nag.
Tell us a little bit about why you got involved with this initiative.
A few years back, my dad developed skin cancer. That was a little bit of a wake-up call for me, considering being out in the sun is something I do every day. When it all happened, my girlfriend at the time asked me bluntly, “You wear sunscreen every day, right?” And I hadn’t been. My whole life I had been outside playing in the sun and I had neglected something so important. So after my dad’s diagnosis, I became someone on the team who wore sunscreen regularly. There are a lot of people who are not educated and if we can help even just a few, it’s worth it.
Recent statistics say that 70 percent of men don’t know what skin cancer signs to look for, and half don’t wear sunscreen. Why do you think that is?
It’s a macho thing, an unaware thing. I don’t think people fully understand the dangers. It’s one thing if you go out once a week and you’re in a little bit of sunshine. But for me and many of the people I know, we’re out in the sun playing soccer every day, and it’s constant. It only takes a couple minutes to apply sunscreen and it can save your life.
Do the numbers surprise you?
On the surface, it’s a surprising number. But when I think about people I know and guys I play with, it’s not all that surprising. I think for the most part it’s an ignorance thing where people don’t really understand the danger involved. And for some people, I don’t know if it’s a lazy thing, or if they just really don’t think anything can happen to them. Like, “Oh, I don’t need it, I’m not going to be outside that long.” It’s a lack of action, so bringing up awareness will hopefully move them so that next time they go outside, maybe they’ll spend two minutes and put sunscreen on.
As a soccer player, you have to be out on the field a lot. What’s your sunscreen regimen?
I put sunscreen on about a half hour before I go out. For people that sweat a lot, it’s necessary to find sunscreen that is water resistant because if you put it on too late, it’s dripping in your eyes and that doesn’t feel good. If I’m not going to be outside for a long time, then I at least put on a hat and sunglasses and make sure I’m covered so that I’m not exposing myself directly.
Do you have a favorite brand you find works really well while you’re out being active?
I’m pretty easy as far as that stuff goes, so as long as it doesn’t go in my eyes, I’m good. I prefer the spray, but it’s easier to get the lotion in the locker room. The spray is nice because you don’t get it on your hand and it’s not greasy. I don’t want it to be greasy.
How can women help the men in their lives get more educated about skin safety?
Continue to push it so that they understand. I don’t know, by nature, men are just not as concerned or aware. Women are a lot more nurturing, I think, and want to take care of people, and understand inherently the dangers involved. So use that and make them be informed. I know it can be difficult, but I think being really blunt and letting them know that you care about them and you don’t want to see something bad happen to them would work. There are plenty of stories about people who get skin cancer and it goes undetected and you can die from it. If men can see that that’s a real possibility, it might get them to stop and think about it. Just continue to nag them because in the end, that part doesn’t matter. Saving their life does.
To get a little more sunscreen 411, we checked in with Joshua Zeichner, M.D., spokesperson for The Skin Cancer Foundation. More skin-saving advice:
Written on May 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm , by Karla Walsh
Unless you’re an elite runner, you’ve likely been intimidated toeing the starting line at a race. This month, there is a stress-free opportunity to complete your race—while helping a good cause—no matter where you live!
From now until May 31, you can sign up to Outrun (or walk) the Sun and complete a race on the day and at the distance of your choosing. Your $12 entry fee will support skin cancer education and melanoma research, so don’t forget your sunscreen, sunglasses and hat! It’s the perfect time to practice and support sun safety, as May is National Skin Cancer and Melanoma Awareness Month. Scary stat: Melanoma kills one American every hour and more than two million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year.
Runners, walkers and athletes of all kinds are often at higher risk than the general population, due to their frequent outdoor pursuits. So participants will receive more than the pride that comes with finishing a race—they will also get a reminder about the importance of sun safety.
For more about Outrun the Sun, click here.
More from FITNESS:
Written on July 29, 2011 at 2:51 pm , by Marianne Magno
Our 16-year-old selves did a lot of things that would make our now-adult selves cringe. (Bad haircut? Inappropriate outfit? Check and check.) But on a more serious note, past behaviors like tanning and skipping the sunscreen could have serious consequences on your health today. Watch the touching and informative video below to see what other people would tell their 16-year-old selves about skin cancer and how it has changed their lives. We can’t turn back time, but perhaps this PSA, put together by the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund, would encourage more people to take care of their skin and help prevent future cases of melanoma.
More from FITNESS: Skin Cancer Prevention Facts
Tell us: What would you tell your 16-year-old self?
Written on May 27, 2011 at 11:24 am , by Lisa Haney
We’re all breaking out our cute sundresses and shorts here in the FITNESS offices now that we’re finally getting a little warmth and sun in NYC. And I’ve been thinking of all those beautiful bare legs after I learned from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SunWise program that it’s the body area where 20 to 25 percent of all melanomas occur in women.
While I’m religious about using daily SPF on my face, I usually don’t think about protecting my exposed limbs unless I’m off to the beach or spending most of the day outside. So in honor of SunWise’s Don’t Fry Day (cute!) today, I’m vowing to start using a daily SPF body lotion to protect my whole body.
The organization’s catchy “Slip, Slop, Slap & Wrap” sun-savvy motto is now stuck in my head:
- Slip on a shirt.
- Slop on SPF 15+ sunscreen.
- Slap on a wide-brimmed hat
- Wrap on sunglasses
More from FITNESS: You can take a two-pronged approach and tackle cancer prevention from the inside out too. Check out what to eat to beat skin cancer.
Written on May 12, 2011 at 11:48 am , by Lisa Haney
Sometimes moms are great health role models. Other times, not so much.
Young women who use tanning beds were four times as likely (42 percent) to say their moms use tanning beds compared to young women who don’t indoor tan, according to a new survey by the American Academy of Dermatology. The group reminds that indoor tanning increases your risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by a whopping 75 percent!
When it comes to skin cancer, you definitely don’t want “like mother, like daughter” to be the case.
For more on this important topic, read up here:
- What’s That Spot? A Photo Guide to Skin Cancer
- 10 Smart Ways to Lower Your Skin Cancer Risk
- What to Eat to Beat Skin Cancer
Now tell us: What’s your smartest sun protection tip?