Essential Golf: A passion for the Game

Protect Your Skin from the Sun On and Off the Golf Course

Protect your skin from the sun's UV rays.

With a single round of golf clocking in at an average of four hours in peak daylight, it’s no wonder why golfers can put themselves at a higher risk of developing skin cancer. Before you hit the links, take the right measures to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays that can lead to skin cancer and sun-related skin damage1such as wrinkling, pigmentation and loss of elasticity2.

Sun exposure

The sun’s harmful UV rays reach us each day and in every season. There are two types of UV rays thought to damage skin and cause skin cancer.  These two types of rays are called UVA rays and UVB rays. UVA rays, the aging rays, penetrate deep into our skin cells and damage their DNA. These rays are linked to long-term skin damage such as wrinkles. UVA rays are present all day, every day of the year and can even pass through windows in your office or vehicles. UVB rays, also known as the burning rays, mostly affect the outer layer of the skin and cause sunburn. UVB rays can vary with the time of day and seasons, and are stronger in the summer. Exposure to both UVA and UVB rays increases risk for skin cancer3.

A number of factors can impact your UV ray exposure. Plan on playing a course in a tropical climate or one in a mountainous region? You may need to take extra sun-safety precautions. The sun’s rays are stronger in tropical climates near the earth’s equator where the earth is positioned closer to the sun4. Even in cooler, mountainous areas, UV rays at higher altitudes put skin at greater risk for premature aging5.

Know the risks

The sun is essential to good health and can make round of golf more enjoyable. However, unprotected exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause sunburn, premature skin aging and skin cancer.  People of all skin colors can get skin cancer6. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) reports that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States affecting more than 3 million people a year. Be proactive and catch suspicious spots early as they could be melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. The good news is that when detected early, melanoma can be effectively treated. Use the ABCDEs of melanoma as a guide for self-skin exams.  If you question an existing or new spot on your skin, schedule an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.

Know the signs of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Image courtesy of the American Academy of Dermatology, Inc.

Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen and apply it properly

Daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen decreases the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging caused by the sun when used with other sun protection measures7. A broad-spectrum sunscreen helps to protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Make sure your sunscreen has a broad-spectrum label. Sunscreens without a broad-spectrum label, even with a high SPF (sun protection factor), may not defend skin from UVA rays.  Furthermore, it’s important to know how to apply the right amount of sunscreen effectively and frequently. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) recommends most adults apply about 1 shot glass worth of sunscreen to the body 15 minutes prior to sun exposure and to reapply every two hours especially if you are swimming or sweating.

Sun protection starts now

No matter your age or history, it’s never too late to start protecting your skin. Along with other sun safety measures, the daily use of an effective broad-spectrum sunscreen helps prevent skin cancer and sun-related damage8 such as wrinkling, pigmentation and loss of elasticity9. With this in mind, remember to see a dermatology professional for an annual skin cancer screening and be sun-smart on and off the golf course!

About EltaMD® Skin Care

EltaMD® Skin Care is committed to helping you have great skin for life. Our company creates dermatologist-recommended wound healing and skin care products that help develop, protect and maintain healthy skin

Available through your dispensing physician EltaMD sun care and skin care products are formulated for every skin type, lifestyle and special need. Your physician and skin care professional can recommend EltaMD products that are right for you.

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1, 8 American Academy of Dermatology, July 2017

2, 7, 9 U.S. Food and Drug Administration, May 2019,

3, 5, 6American Cancer Society, May 2019,

5 World Health Organization, May 2019,

See Also:

World Golf Hall of Fame 2019 Inductions: Everything You Need to Know

2019 U.S. Open Course Guide: Pebble Beach