Look after your skin while playing for skins

Practicing sun safety is important on the golf course or any outdoor activity.

When golfers have a tee time booked at their favourite club or on a trip with the sport a large part of the itinerary many look to the weather forecast before heading out hoping for a seasonally warm summer day. If you are going to spend upwards of five hours on the course skin care needs to be a requirement even when the sun isn’t shining.

Elizabeth Holmes is a Health Policy Analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society, she said some of the precautions people can take before heading out on the course for an extended period are creating your own shade with an umbrella, cover your skin with tightly woven clothes, and wear a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses. However the most important item to remember is checking the UV index and if it’s three or more take precaution with sunscreen.

“You are looking for that broad spectrum sunscreen with 30 SPF (sun protection factor),” she said. “30 is the minimum we encourage everyone to look for. Finding the brand or formula that works best for you, what are you going to apply that feels nice and what are you going to apply properly? I would suggest something that is sweat or water resistant, that usually has a timeframe on it of about 60 to 80 minutes.”

The mindset of most people heading outside for any extended period whether it’s work, or recreation is that if it’s cloudy outside they are safe from any sun damage to their skin. According to Holmes, that is false information and precautions need to be taken.

“We can’t see UV rays so they still get through clouds,” she explained. “That’s why it’s really important to check your UV index for the day. When it’s three or more you need to practice sun safety. In general between April and September in Saskatchewan you should practice sun safety no matter the weather when you are outside.”

Wind can also be a factor for more than a fade off the tee or slicing around a fairway dogleg in search of a birdie. A breeze, where there is no shortage in Saskatchewan can elevate your chance of getting a sunburn.

“Sometimes a windburn is actually used to refer to a sunburn,” Holmes said. “People think because it’s a cloudy windy day that they don’t need to practice sun safety. Sometimes it is a strong wind but sometimes it’s actually a sunburn people have gotten because they haven’t practiced sun safety. It’s important to practice sun safety when it’s cloudy and windy and dress accordingly to the weather.”

People that are fair skin, have light eyes and hair are more susceptible to skin damage from the sun. If you have suffered sunburns as a child you are also more at risk to serious skin damage. Holmes said there are some symptoms to watch out for if you do spend significant amount of time outdoors.

“If you have a mole or wart and there is a change in the shape, size, or colour you want to get that checked out. If you have a sore that isn’t healing, patches of skin that bleed, itch or become red or any kind of new growth that comes out of nowhere. It’s really just check your skin regularly for changes and know what’s normal for you and if something doesn’t look quite right get it checked out. It might be nothing, but it might be skin cancer so it’s important to be proactive about getting it checked out,” she said.

The Canadian Cancer Society has much more information available here.