In Australia where sun protection is a national priority, they have developed a campaign called "Slip, Slop, Slap and Slide" Here are some steps you can take to limit your amount of exposure to UV rays, which are the harmful rays of the sun:
Clothing (SLIP on clothing)
While most people think of sunscreen first when discussing sun proteciton, wearing clothing to protect as much skin as possible when you are in the sun is a key component of a comprehensive skin protection program. We have listed it first as we think it is the most important component as it creates a non chemical, physical barrier to the sun and reduces the amount of sunscreen that you need to use. Also with clothing there is no need to be concerned about when you apply and reapply to the skin as there is with sunscreen. Clothing is your best protection in the sun and that is why we list it first!
Different types of clothes provide different levels of protection. A tightly woven fabric protects better than loosely woven clothing. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants cover the most skin and are the most protective. Darker colors generally provide more protection than lighter colors. Remember……if you can see light through a fabric, UV rays can get through too. Be aware that covering up doesn't block out all UV rays. A typical T-shirt worn in the summer usually protects you less than sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 8!
There are companies that make sun protective clothing (see sponsor link). In general these garments tend to be made from tightly woven fabrics, are lightweight and comfortable and often have special coatings that help absorb UV rays. SPF is the protection measurement for sunscreens and sunblocks. Ultraviolet Protection Factor or UPF indicates the level of protection that a garment provides. Generally garments are rated from 15 to 50+ with the higher numbers indicating higher protection from UV rays. Products are available to increase the UPF value of clothes you already own. Used like laundry detergents, they add a layer of UV protection to your clothes without changing the color or texture and generally last for up to 20 launderings.
Sunscreen (SLOP on sunscreen)
Sunscreens help to prevent the sun’s UV rays from reaching the skin. However no sunscreen provides complete and total protection. BUT, by selecting an appropriate sunscreen you can minimize the effects of UV rays on your skin. Sunscreens are available in many forms -- lotions, creams, wipes, sprays, gels, and wax sticks. For women, some cosmetics contain sunscreen. Some makeup contains sunscreen, but only the label can tell you. Check the labels to find out.
There are actually two types of sunscreens; Chemical sunscreens and Physical sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens act like a sponge and absorb the UV rays while physical sunscreens lie on the surface of your skin and reflect the UV rays. As the name suggests, chemical sunscreens are comprised of a combination of different sunscreening agents. Physical sunscreens usually are made up of minerals like Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium Dioxide.
Experts recommend products with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30. The SPF number represents the level of protection against UVB rays provided by the sunscreen -- a higher number means more (longer) protection. In order to get the SPF benefit of your sunscreen, you need to put on an appropriate amount of product. That means a teaspoon of sunscreen on your face and a golf ball size amount appied to the whole body.
It is important to remember that sunscreen does not give you total protection. SPF measures the length of time a product protects against skin reddening from UVB, compared to how long the skin takes to redden without sunscreen. So if it would normally take 20 minutes to start turning red without a sunscreen, a SPF of 15 would give you approximately 300 minutes of protection. It can take up to 24 hours for the reddening to appear so it is always better to go with a higher SPF. The amount of protection any sunscreen offers can be impacted by issues such as wind, altitude, perspiration or how well it is applied.
Read the label closely before you buy a sun protection product. The SPF number is an indication of protection against UVB rays only and does not indicate protection from UVA rays.. Currently there is no numerical standard for measuring protection from UVA rays. Look for sunscreen products labeled "broad-spectrum coverage" or "protects against UVA and UVB rays" to get protection from both UVA and UVB radiation. Products with an SPF of 30 or higher that also contain avobenzone (Parsol 1789), mexoryl, zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide are likely to be effective against the entire spectrum of UV rays.
Be sure to apply the sunscreen properly. Always follow the label directions. Most recommend applying sunscreen generously to dry skin 20 to 30 minutes before going outside so it can be absorbed by your skin. When applying it, pay close attention to your face, ears, hands, and arms, and generously coat the skin that is not covered by clothing. If you're going to wear insect repellent or makeup, apply the sunscreen first. Remember: Don’t Burn...Reapply at the turn!
To learn how to apply sunscreen in a golf friendly way to avoid it getting on your grips and affecting your ability to hold your golf club, view our video "How To Apply Sunscreen in a Golf Friendly way".
Wear a Hat (SLAP on a hat)
A hat with at least a 2- to 3-inch brim all around is ideal because it protects areas often exposed to the sun, such as the neck, ears, eyes, forehead, nose, and scalp. A shade cap (which looks like a baseball cap with about 7 inches of fabric draping down the sides and back) also is good. These are often sold in sports and outdoor supply stores.
A baseball cap can protect the front and top of the head but not the back of the neck or the ears, where skin cancers commonly develop. Straw hats are not recommended unless they are tightly woven or have UPF fabric inside. If you are going to wear one of these hats, it is important to make sure you cover your ears and neck with adequate sunscreen.
Wear Sunglasses That Block UV Rays (SLIDE on sunglasses)
Long hours in the sun without protecting your eyes can increase your chances of developing eye disease. UV-blocking sunglasses can help protect your eyes from sun damage.
Sunglasses do not have to be expensive, but they should block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB radiation. Check the label to be sure they do. Some labels may say, "UV absorption up to 400 nm." This is the same as 100% UV absorption. Also, labels that say "Meets ANSI UV Requirements" mean the glasses block at least 99% of UV rays. Those labeled "cosmetic" block about 70% of the UV rays. If there is no label, assume the sunglasses don't provide any protection.
UV rays reach the ground even on cloudy days. UV rays can also pass through water, so don't think you're safe if you're in the water and feeling cool. Be especially careful on the beach and in the snow because sand and snow reflect sunlight, increasing the amount of UV radiation you receive.
Whenever possible, while participating in outdoor activities, seek shade. Not only will this help protect your skin, but also it helps to keep your body cool.
If at all possible avoid prolonged exposure to the sun during the hours of 10 am and 4pm. This is the period of highest UV intensity.
Umbrellas are not just for rainy days, they can provide shade out on the golf course. Some umbrella manufacturers build UV protection into the fabric of their products in anticipation of them being used for sun protection
Your body is composed of approximately 65% water. Some parts of your body, like the brain and muscles are close to 75% water. Water is the main component of the blood in your body, it is vital for oxygen transportation to all your working muscles and organs, and plays the leading role in regulating your body’s temperature.
Cooling ourselves and preventing overheating are the main reasons that we perspire (sweat). By sweating, water comes to the surface of our skin and then evaporates. The process of evaporation is a cooling process and that is what helps to cool us down.
Maintaining proper hydration helps to keep your body’s organs functioning properly and allows you to compete at a proper level. Your health and your golf game will suffer if you become inadequately hydrated. Dehydration can result in:
- Reduced endurance
- Muscle cramps
- Loss of concentration
- Poor performance
There is no one recipe for proper hydration as it is very individual. However there are some general guidelines.
- First and foremost you should start hydrating BEFORE you get to the course. Don’t wait until you are thirsty.
- Most experts suggest that in conditions that can cause dehydration, 16 to 24 ounces of fluids per hour during your round is a good start.
- It is best to continually "sip" fluids rather than taking a periodic larger drink.
- If you are consuming a significant amount of water you need to be sure to avoid an electrolyte imbalance. This can be accomplished by consuming drinks that include electrolytes and many sports drinks offer these.
- Avoid drinks that contain caffeine and/or alcohol.
- At the first signs of confusion, dizziness, headache or loss of coordination seek medical help.
Hydration is important anytime you are out on the course, but extra attention should be paid during the summer months, in a hot climate or at elevation. Water is the best at hydrating, but you may want to consider using a sports beverage or adding a product to the water that replaces essential electrolytes.