Cycle helmets and sun cream

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horizon
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Cycle helmets and sun cream

Postby horizon » 1 Jun 2014, 5:10pm

(Note this may not be the thread you thought it was going to be.)

I was thinking the other day; do helmet promotion and sun cream promotion have something in common? For example:

1. Helmets are heavily promoted by health authorities and social commentators. Sun cream is too. In fact it’s hard to get away from either. Is it not slip slap slop? Every time?

2. Both helmets and sun cream promotion are heavily directed at children and the parents thereof and the latter’s responsibility in this regard. The result is sometimes restrictions such as preventing children from taking part un-helmeted in cycling activities at school or not being allowed to send children on school trips if they don’t use sun cream.

3. Both are aimed at preventing a serious but rare event (head trauma and skin cancer respectively). However the links between the preventative method and the possible outcome,it is claimed, are not fully and universally understood i.e. both are somewhat controversial.

4. Some people even claim that following official advice (i.e. to wear a helmet and use sun cream) can itself be dangerous. Helmets may themselves cause rotational injuries while sun cream is claimed by some people to have carcinogenic ingredients.

5. While it may appear self evident that both helmets and sun cream could afford protection at an individual level, neither seems to have much effect on its main target at population levels: head injuries stay the same and skin cancer rates go up despite increased usage in both cases.

6. Both cycle helmets and sun cream require a certain amount of personal inconvenience while having disputed links to the hoped-for outcome. So a decision may be difficult in both cases.

7. Both helmet wearing and sun cream use may result in riskier behaviour. Does sun cream promote the two-week frizzle on the beach in mid summer at noon which may otherwise be avoided if sunburn was the inevitable outcome? Do helmets encourage a false sense of security and faster downhills?

8. Helmet wearing and sun cream use may also divert attention or discourage better alternatives; in the case of cycling, using more care, cycling more slowly and for example using a mirror. Guarding against sunburn may simply otherwise involve staying out of the midday sun, covering up where necessary and developing a slower tan than a two-week quickie allows.

I’m not, I have to say, very interested in the efficacy or otherwise of either helmets or sun cream but I would like to know if the parallels are correct or if I’m missing the point somewhere along the line.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

kwackers
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Re: Cycle helmets and sun cream

Postby kwackers » 1 Jun 2014, 5:52pm

To be fair to sun cream, if I don't wear it when out running I get burned. If I do then I don't.

If helmets behaved in such an obvious way I'd wear those too.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Cycle helmets and sun cream

Postby [XAP]Bob » 1 Jun 2014, 6:05pm

Also sun cream doesn't affect the way the sun responds, nor is it's cost significant (assuming no allergies etc) - it takes a small fixed time per day, and has an easily demonstrated short term benefit, the cancer arguments are secondary.

It does however promote being in the sun more...
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

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horizon
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Re: Cycle helmets and sun cream

Postby horizon » 1 Jun 2014, 8:02pm

[XAP]Bob wrote:Also sun cream doesn't affect the way the sun responds, nor is it's cost significant (assuming no allergies etc) - it takes a small fixed time per day, and has an easily demonstrated short term benefit, the cancer arguments are secondary.

It does however promote being in the sun more...


Hmmm. This is from the DM:

Buying enough cream for a family of four going on a two-week holiday would cost more than £100. However, most families take only three or four bottles with them. Sara Hiom, Science Information Manager at Cancer Research UK said: "This survey confirms that people aren't using enough sunscreen.

I would have thought that sun cream costs considerably more than a helmet. It also takes ages to apply and is very messy. I would rather pay for and wear a helmet than pay for and use sun cream.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

Steady rider
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Re: Cycle helmets and sun cream

Postby Steady rider » 1 Jun 2014, 8:10pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potential_ ... _sunscreen
adding a link
Potential health risks of sunscreen


perhaps there should also be a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potential_ ... s_of_cycle helmets

'Potential health risks of cycle helmets'

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Cycle helmets and sun cream

Postby [XAP]Bob » 1 Jun 2014, 10:47pm

500 ml for <£5 (factor 30).

How much do we need? Apply it in the morning, have a siesta in the midday heat, maybe apply again for the afternoon.

Of course if you are trying to wash it off all day long and stay out in the midday sun...
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

beardy
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Re: Cycle helmets and sun cream

Postby beardy » 1 Jun 2014, 10:57pm

[XAP]Bob wrote:500 ml for <£5 (factor 30).

How much do we need? Apply it in the morning, have a siesta in the midday heat, maybe apply again for the afternoon.

Of course if you are trying to wash it off all day long and stay out in the midday sun...


None.

Ellieb
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Re: Cycle helmets and sun cream

Postby Ellieb » 1 Jun 2014, 11:25pm

I think the fallacy you are promoting is that suntan lotion does not work.. It certainly prevents me from getting sunburned, as it does everyone I've ever met. You have some evidence for its lack of efficacy?

beardy
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Re: Cycle helmets and sun cream

Postby beardy » 1 Jun 2014, 11:36pm

I am not saying that it doesnt do anything, just that it isnt needed.

I did not even use it when I lived in Australia. I dont use any here either.
Just as none of my ancestors ever did.

Ellieb
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Re: Cycle helmets and sun cream

Postby Ellieb » 1 Jun 2014, 11:41pm

Your choice I suppose. You have noticed how much life expectancy has increased over the past few years?

kwackers
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Re: Cycle helmets and sun cream

Postby kwackers » 2 Jun 2014, 9:13am

beardy wrote:I am not saying that it doesnt do anything, just that it isnt needed.

I did not even use it when I lived in Australia. I dont use any here either.
Just as none of my ancestors ever did.

It's difficult to go out running in the sun without it, in that respect I'd say it was needed.
Without I most definitely burn. I could cover up more but I have a huge problem staying cool without wearing more clothes.

That's not to say I could simply stay in when the sun is shining but I reckon that just like helmets the risks are minimal.

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horizon
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Re: Cycle helmets and sun cream

Postby horizon » 2 Jun 2014, 9:26am

Ellieb wrote:I think the fallacy you are promoting is that suntan lotion does not work.. It certainly prevents me from getting sunburned, as it does everyone I've ever met. You have some evidence for its lack of efficacy?


No, the point I was making is that sun cream is promoted as a protection against skin cancer. Cycle helmets are useful items on which to put a camera, keep your head warm and dry etc: none of this is disputed. It's the ultimate goal that is disputed. BTW, you don't need sun cream to avoid sun burn, just a hat and a tee shirt. The outer parts of the body (such as the top of your hands on the handlebars) adapt as the sun gets higher. But for most people it means being able to lie in the sun. But see my point 4 above - I personally see using sun cream as a high price to pay for being able to do that.

But my main point is that sun cream is promoted as a preventative measure against skin cancer.
Last edited by horizon on 2 Jun 2014, 9:54am, edited 1 time in total.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

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BeeKeeper
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Re: Cycle helmets and sun cream

Postby BeeKeeper » 2 Jun 2014, 9:43am

horizon wrote:But my main point is that sun cream is promoted as a panacea for skin cancer.


I think I understand your convoluted thinking but I have to disagree with the above statement. It isn't a panacea but it certainly helps and is most helpful in preventing sunburn in children, who are not always sensible enough to wear a hat or keep covered up when they go out.

This site has some interesting statistics, more people died of skin cancer in Victoria than were killed on their roads in 2012. http://www.sunsmart.com.au/

Which I think puts the helmet analogy into perspective. The evidence for the benefit of wearing helmets is dubious at best, the evidence for the benefit of sun cream is I think overwhelming. Saying you don't need to wear sun cream if you cover up is not really the point. It's rather like saying you don't need to wear a helmet, just avoid having an accident. Sun screen isn't the full answer but it helps when used in combination with long clothing and hats etc. Slip, Slap, Slop - as the Ozzies say.

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horizon
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Re: Cycle helmets and sun cream

Postby horizon » 2 Jun 2014, 9:53am

BeeKeeper wrote:
horizon wrote:But my main point is that sun cream is promoted as a panacea for skin cancer.


I think I understand your convoluted thinking but I have to disagree with the above statement. It isn't a panacea but it certainly helps and is most helpful in preventing sunburn


I've edited my post above to reflect this. My impression is that sun cream is strongly promoted as a preventative measure and therefore may lead people to believe it is the answer. I've no specific evidence about this just the impression.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

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horizon
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Re: Cycle helmets and sun cream

Postby horizon » 2 Jun 2014, 9:56am

BeeKeeper wrote:I think I understand your convoluted thinking


For which I am grateful. :D

But it's really quite straightforward: both helmets and sun cream are controversial measures. That's really all I'm saying.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher