Playing golf without sunscreen results in the skin burning pretty quickly, maybe 15 to 20 minutes depending on your skin tone. Those who have fair skin my burn faster than those who have an olive or darker skin tone. But whatever skin tone we have, we all burn.
We all get caught out by the sun, usually because we weren’t expecting it. There are days which start off cloudy and by the end of the round we have been baking in the sun for hours. We peel off the layers and end up in short sleeves unprepared for the 30 degrees of baking sun and our face, neck and arms start to turn pink, or worse.
Our usual reaction is surprise as we nod in the mirror acknowledging how we have caught the sun. But being guilty of this too often means we are at a greater risk of causing permanent damage to our skin. In fact all golfers are at a greater risk of skin cancer because regularly spending over four hours in the sun without having suitable protection has its consequences.
“1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer during the course of their lifetime” (Skin Cancer Foundation)
Types of UV Rays
UVA – this is the reason you may see darkening age spots, wrinkles or feel a bit sick after too much sun. UVA ray’s soak into the skin so deeply that it can actually effect your immune system.
UVB – these are the rays that cause sunburn.
Finding a sunscreen that can protect you from both UVA and UVB rays, also known as Broad Spectrum, helps to prevent tumors on the skin, Squamous Cell Carcinoma – which is a form of cancer, sunburn, age spots and wrinkles.
Most dermatologists recommend the use of an SPF 30 sunscreen or higher, especially if you’ll be exposed to the sun for a long period of time. If you plan on being outside for an entire day, SPF 50 is recommended. When we play golf it’s easy to sweat off your sunscreen so try to apply, and re-apply often. My best suggestion is to find a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher, waterproof and has broad spectrum protection.
Skin Cancer Risk Factors
Skin cancer of all kinds is associated with exposure to the sun. Even a suntan is harmful. Sunburns and tanning hurt the skin and serve as outward signs of internal skin damage. While light-skinned people have a greater risk of getting melanoma, this disease is increasing among people with darker skin. In California for instance skin cancer rates have increased in the past 22 years for all racial/ethnic groups. Regardless of what colour you are there are characteristics which make some more susceptible than others:
- Being blonde
- Having blue eyes
- Having freckles
- Being burnt before
- Having a history of skin cancer in the family
Sun damage doesn’t only cause cancer but also premature aging, sun spots and solar elastosis – a loosening of the connective tissues – causing wrinkles and loose, sagging skin.
Sunscreen and the PGA Tour
The PGA Tour knows the importance of sun protection and supports the Skin Cancer Foundation in promoting the use of sunscreen on the golf course.
For Tour players applying sun cream is a daily ritual to cover their face and their arms, exposed to the sun every day. Tour player Adam Scott sees it as being as essential as having golf balls in the bag, Brian Davis, who has been treated for multiple skin cancers, Rory McIlroy accepts his fair skin is a danger when in the sun so much for such a long period of the day.
Dr Thomas G Hospel is the the Medical Director to the PGA tour and his advice is simple:
“It starts off with your head, being smart, but then more physically its wearing a hat that has a brim on it which will protect your face from the sun, and wearing sunglasses that have uv protection which will prevent issues with your eyes. Wearing clothes that are long in nature, long sleeves, long pants as opposed to shorts or short sleeves and then obviously wearing sunscreen. Its important that before you go out and are in the sun to apply sunscreen about half hour before you are out in so that it has an opportunity to get into your skin. And also that you reapply the sunscreen every two or three hours while you are out in the sun”.
Diamante Dunes Sunscreen Checklist
When you come to play Diamante Dunes at Cabo San Lucas, we want you to have a great round of golf without coming off the course burnt to a crisp. When it comes to sun protection it’s best to be proactive and prepared. Here’s a quick check for you before you play:
- Keep sunscreen in your golf bag at all times, don’t get caught out
- Always apply chapstick to your lips, remember this is skin too
- Try to avoid playing golf between peak sun hours of 10-4
- Always try to stay in the shade wherever possible
- Never allow yourself to burn
- Wear a hat, a wide brimmed one if preferably
- No amount of cooling breeze or wind diminishes the effects of the sun.
- Wear long sleeved clothing and longs pants
- Wear UV protecting sunglasses to cover the delicate eye area
- Protect on overcast days too, 80% of the harmful UV radiation penetrates cloud
- Apply a generous amount of SP30 sunscreen 30 mins before you go out
- Re-apply every two hours
When you visit Diamante Dunes at Cabo San Lucas the sun is a big part of what makes us so special, but in truth, we want you to be glowing because of the golf, not because of the sun.
For more information on how to avoid skin damage please visit: