Skin Cancer Risks For Golfers

Photo by Courtney Cook on Unsplash

Skin Cancer Risks For Golfers

Will Skin Cancer Risks For Golfers make golfing a thing of the past for you?

Yes, golfers and skin cancer do have a frightening link. Skin cancer is becoming “golf’s silent killer.” As I learn more about the dangers of skin cancer for golfers, I am aware that they just don’t know. We have to help them become aware. In the process of awareness, they will learn about the ways to take care of their skin.

Most golfers want a sunny day on the course. They don’t realize how much sun damage accumulates during those 4-5 hours of playing in the direct sunlight.

Wearing sunscreen and sun blocking clothing is important for all golfers. Awareness will help golfers choose better Tee Times, and make other practical decisions.

Skin Cancer and Golfers

Will you allow the risk of skin cancer to take away your favorite sport? Remember, there are many ways for you to protect your skin from accumulative UV sun exposure while enjoying a round of golf.

Unfortunately, golfers are at an increased risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers due to cumulative UV exposure. The hours spent outdoors add up. Especially your hours in direct sunlight during peak times of UV sun exposure.

Dangerous Peak Sun Exposure Hours

So many golf matches occur between 10 am – 4 pm. These hours are also the most dangerous of the hours the sun shines. This time of exposure can do a surprising amount of damage to your skin.

Don’t think that playing at higher altitudes is safer. Actually, this will increase your exposure to UV radiation! Even though it may be a bit cooler, you are closer to the source, the sun.

Skin Protection Tips For Golfers

  • Appy sunscreen before getting dressed (allows a better coverage)
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF
  • If using a lotion, use about a shot glass full over all the body.
  • Special Sports Sunscreen may resist the heat and sweat to keep protection going.
  • Remember the back of your neck, tops of your ears and nose. Those are the places skin cancers appear most often.
  • Wear long sleeved shirts that are tightly woven to keep out the sun. For golfers, their back is especially subject to sunburn, after the neck, ears and nose. It can burn through a regular shirt so UPF clothing is recommended.
  • Sun blocking clothing is important to your overall protection plan.
  • A sun hat with a 3 ” brim
  • Your sunglasses.
  • Take breaks in the shade when you can.
  • Stay hyderated, drink lots of water.

Golfers Should Use A Sunscreen Stick

Sunscreen sticks are great for reapplying sunscreen to the face, neck, ears, and arms. This will help avoid the slippery feeling you might get from some sunscreens when on the golf course.

Sunscreen needs to be re-applied every 2-3 hours. Using a stick SPF is less messy, easy to apply, convenient to carry, and won’t affect your golf grip!

Keeping your skin safe on the golf course will help you avoid the skin cancer that is showing up more often for golfers and at an earlier age.

Golfers are subject to a higher risk because of the time they spend in the sun. Doctors know that skin cancer is an accumulative result. The thing they don’t know? How many times before you have used all your safe times up? Is it after 5 rounds of golf? Or will it show up after 20?

At this point, we don’t know.

Skin Cancer Risks For Golfers

For Golfers, any clothing at all is protection. However, due to the time it takes to complete a round, will just any clothing be enough?

A normal T-shirt and pants have an SPF of about 7.2 If the clothing has been washed many times, there will be even less protection.

This is why UPF clothing is a good way to protect your skin from the sun and skin cancer. Look for shirts, shorts, or pants with UPF 50. This will give you an added layer of sun protection along with wearing sunscreen.

With the advances in technology, there are shirts, pants and sun hats that will help you stay protected. Add sun sleeves, gloves for the tops of your hands, and sun masks.

Remember there is less of an OZONE layer now to help protect us.

What To Look For In A Wide Brimmed Hat

A wide-brimmed hat should protect your entire face. Baseball style caps just won’t do that. Some hats are also made with UPF 50 for added sun protection. A crown that is tall enough to allow a bit of room on the top of your head is best.

The fabric your hat is made of regardless of straw or fabric should be tightly woven. Look at the sun through your hat. If you can see the sun through the hat, the sun can see you and the rays can get to your neck, face and ears.

Another important consideration is the brim width. The brim needs to be at least 3″ wide to protect your face, neck, ears and nose. Having a brim that tilts down will give you the most shield. Having a darker color on the underside of the brim can help absorb reflected dangerous sun rays as well.

Take time to find a hat you feel comfortable with. If you don’t like how it fits you won’t wear it. A hat must be worn to protect you from the sun’s rays.

Also, remember, you still need to wear your sunscreen!

A Quick Reminder To Protect Your Eyes

Skin cancer can appear around and even in your eyes.

Cataracts are also caused by UV sun exposure. You should wear polarized UV-protected sunglasses while outside doing anything to adequately protect your eyes.

The statistics are available to support your dermatologists and their claims about the need to protect our eyes.

My eye care specialist told me that I would require cataract surgery much earlier than most because of sun exposure.

Remember: There Is No Safe Tan

Once your skin is tan, the sun damage has already happened. Your accumulation of UV exposure over time is the leading cause of skin cancers, both melanoma, and non-melanoma.

You are using your free times and can’t get them back. A tan is your skin trying to protect itself from the sun.

Who Wants A Leathery Skin Look?

Chronic sun exposure will deplete all of your collagen and elasticity that you have present in your skin. This will cause your skin, over time to look leathery. This isn’t something that women are concerned about, men also care how their skin ages.

Other signs of sun damage on the face are wrinkles, redness, enlarged blood vessels, and brown spots.

Protecting your skin is a better option.

Cloudy Days Are Dangerous As Well

The UV rays still affect your skin, even on cloudy days. Sun protection is important in any weather, so don’t skip it!

Even if you are living where it is much cooler, you will get skin damage from the sun. You should never think that you are home free because the sun isn’t shining brightly. Often reflections on cloudy days can burn you quicker than you realize.

Often on these cloudy days, a sun blocking shirt, sun hat and your sunglasses with a bit of sunscreen will protect you. However, you will need to be aware of the conditions and add sunscreen if the clouds burn or blow away.

Stay aware and protect yourself and your family.

Get Your Skin Check Up!

Skin check-ups are very important for golfers. Anyone who is exposed to the sun for extended periods of time is a risk.

Be sure to get your skin check at least once a year. This can help to detect skin cancers, as well as pre-skin cancers, also known as actinic keratosis.

Skin Cancer risks for Golfers is very real, and ignoring them will not make them go away.

How Can We Increase Awareness Of Skin Cancer Risks For Golfers?

Many golfers are not aware of the link between golf and skin cancer risks and the sun damage that is accumulated on the course.

Golf magazines, golf equipment manufacturers and sales, plus golf course operations, as well as the smaller golf clubs, need to create awareness. Awareness of skin cancer risks and prevention will help players protect themselves.

Melanoma is on the rise and unfortunately affects more men than women. Men ages 49 and under have a higher risk of developing melanoma than any other cancer.

There are many ways to protect your skin from the sun. Your awareness and using some of the suggestions from this article will keep you safer.

Learn How To Protect Your Skin
Sami’s Take on Skin Cancer Risks For Golfers

With the addition sun blocking clothing, including your sun hat and sunglasses, add sunscreen. You will be taking steps to cut the risk of skin cancer for yourself.

Remember to avoid the hot times of direct and more dangerous sun exposure to your skin. The hours of10 AM through 4 PM are the most dangerous. Often gold matches run into these hours. Now that you are aware of the danger, you might look at different Tee times.

Spend any time you can in the shade of trees, buildings or awnings. Anything to break the sun is helpful.

Stay hydrated and keep yourself covered and properly apply sunscreen.

Awareness is important. Knowing some ways to help cut the risk will help keep you safe.

What do you do to protect yourself from the sun while golfing?

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