SUNSCREEN YA THINK?
By Jim Grosjean, Senior Staff Writer, Golf Talk America Corporation
I always thought the most important piece of equipment in my golf bag was my somewhat erratic putter. Or maybe it was the driver I could count on every other Thursday. Actually, the most important piece of equipment in my bag is my little bottle of sunscreen!
According to the American Cancer Society, there are more than one million sun-related cases of skin cancer diagnosed annually in the United States. There will be an estimated 1720 cases of melanoma diagnosed in Tennessee this year. Golfers need to protect themselves from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun and the first line of defense should be a good quality sunscreen. The purpose of this article is to give you some guidelines to help you choose a sunscreen that’s right for you.
The harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun are classified as UVA or UVB. UVA rays are 30-50 times more prevalent than UVB rays, and are known to play an important role in skin aging and wrinkling, but are now also known to contribute to the development of skin cancers. UVB rays, on the other hand, have always been known as the primary of cause sunburn and they play a key role in the development of skin cancers. Obviously, we need to be protected from both types of rays. Look for sunscreens that are labeled “broad spectrum,” which means protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
All sunscreens are rated for SPF, or Sun Protection Factor. The higher the rating number, the longer time you can be protected. For golfers, an SPF of 30 would be sufficient as long as you follow the guidelines of the American Cancer Society that you reapply all sunscreens after two hours. Keep in mind that SPF only refers to protection from UVB rays, so we still need a “broad spectrum” sunscreen with an SPF of no less than 15-30.
Sunscreens generally fall into two categories; chemical sunscreens which absorb UV radiation and physical sunscreens which actually block the sun’s rays. Physical type sunscreens contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide and are generally thought to be more effective. They also seem to be more expensive than the chemical types. After considering price, scent, skin absorption, and ingredients, you should be ready to choose the best sunscreen for your protection.
Sunscreen should be applied generously to all uncovered skin 20 to 30 minutes before exposure to the sun. You should reapply sunscreen every two hours. Ultraviolet light penetrates clouds, so lather up even on cloudy days. Insect repellent diminishes the effect of sunscreens, so you will need to apply more often. Fair-skinned people are much more prone to sun damage, so they must take extra precautions such as wearing wide-brimmed hats. The sun’s rays are strongest between the hours of 10AM and 4 PM, so an early tee time is a good thing! Have a safe summer.