Wellness Wednesday: Sun Safety on the Green

Paula Creamer getting help in reapplying sunscreen.
Photo Courtesy: Judy Hedding, About.com

Pro Golfers such as Paula Creamer and Annika Sorenstam have two major things in common when it comes to golf: they are both one of the best women pro golfers and they are both passionate advocates for fitness and health. In countless interviews both Creamer and Sorenstam have advocated the importance of maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, and have attributed that to part of their professional success. Gaining and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is something that we women at the WSCGA also desires to promote, which brings me to our introduction of a series that we will be posting every Wednesday titled: “Wellness Wednesday”.

Wellness Wednesday is set to educate our loyal members on the health and fitness aspects to better both your golf game and help enhance your life. While we are in the peak of summer, what better topic to cover other than sun protection? As southern California residents terms such as, “heat-wave,” “triple-digit forecasts,” and “sun-block” have become a norm to our vocabulary. However, the summer heat is such a norm around here that many of us passionate golfers don’t let the heat keep us from hitting the green for a good round of golf. While those true southern California natives and passionate golfers don’t let the heat scare them away, protection against sun damage should not be forgotten! Skin damage is a serious issue that affects thousands of men and women each year. Ultraviolet radiation (rays that cause skin cancer/damage) are reflected off of sand and water. Therefore, arming yourself in the battle against skin cancer is a very important task that should not be taken lightly, and is something you can do while enjoying a good game of golf.

We have come up with four tips to help begin your safe sun regime today:

1. First, wear sunblock and choose the right one! The FDA is issuing new rules concerning the labeling of sun-block protection to the sun block companies, thus reducing the confusion on which sun block will offer the best protection. However, the new rules will not be applied till next year. So, in the meantime Doctor’s recommend getting a sunscreen that is labeled “broad spectrum” (to protect against the UVA rays, rays that cause skin cancer and skin damage; while, UVB is protecting against sunburns) and has a SPF (screen protection factor) between 30-50.

2. Reapply sun-block every two hours. The most common myth is that once you have applied sun block once, you don’t need to reapply. While this may be a pain, there are now sport spray-on sun blocks that protect just as well as the rub in lotion kind and can be found at any local drug store.

3. Wear protective gear while out on the green. Dermatologist Dr. Michael Kaminer stated in the August issue of Golf Digest that one of the most common myths is that “only exposed parts of the body are at risk for skin cancer.”However, melanoma can occur anywhere on the body. So, wearing a wide-brimmed hat will help protect your head, face, and ears from any skin damage. Dr. Kaminer also suggests that all golf clothes should have a minimum UPF of 30. Several brands recommended by several cancer organizations are Coolibar and Solumbra.

4. Protect your lips, they can get burned too! Use a lip balm that contains SPF 15 or higher.

Sure, we all love the California sun when it comes to going out for a good day of golf but don’t forget the essentials to protecting your skin!

By: Cassandra Gonzales
USGA-WSCGA Intern

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