More time on the tennis courts in the summer means more sun exposure. Be sure you protect your skin by choosing and using the right sunscreen.
Filter Out The RaysThe sun puts out two kinds of rays - UVA rays, which primarily cause wrinkling, sagging and premature aging of the skin, and UVB rays, which lead to reddening of the skin and sunburn. When you're on court (or outside anytime), you need a sunscreen that protects you from both.
So how do you get that? Look carefully at the label of any sunscreen you buy to make sure it is a "broad spectrum" sunscreen, filtering out both UVA and UVB rays.
Choose The Right SPF
Your next step is to choose the right "Sun Protection Factor" or "SPF." While SPFs seems to have a huge range, the folks at The Skin Cancer Foundation recommend you use nothing less than SPF 15. And higher SPFs are better as they protect you longer. How much longer?
If it takes 20 minutes for your skin to beginning reddening in the sun, an SPF of 15 will allow you to stay out 15 times longer, or about 5 hours, before reddening starts. An SPF of 30 will allow you to stay out 30 times longer, an SPF of 50 allows you to be out 50 times longer, etc. Be aware, however, that no sunscreen will last longer than two hours. So be prepared to reapply at least that often.
Here's another way to look at SPF: SPF 15 filters out about 93 percent of incoming UVB rays. SPF 30 keeps out 97 percent and SPF 50 keeps out 98 percent. While the differences seem small, those extra percentages will make a difference. And, as you can see, no sunscreen blocks all UV rays.
And Make Sure Its Water Resistant
When you're playing tennis, you sweat. And in the summer, you sweat a lot. So the best sunscreen for the tennis court is one that's "water resistant" and/or made for outdoor sports as these can withstand drippy perspiration. While these sunscreens don't break down as easily as others, they tend to be stickier and may not be your favorite choice for non-sweaty activities.
Apply Plenty Of Sunscreen
How much sunscreen should you use? Probably more than you're using right now. At least one ounce to your body (about a shot glass full) and about 1/4 ounce to your face (about a teaspoon). Applying any less means you're not getting the full SPF from your sunscreen. And don't forget easy to miss spots like your ears (exposed if you're wearing a ponytail, visor or cap) and the backs of your hands.
Also, apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before taking the court, to ensure you're protected right from the start.
And Reapply Often
Reapply your sunscreen every two hours to be sure it maintains its effectiveness. And if you notice any reddening of your skin at all, that means your sunscreen's not working and you need to add more.
What are your favorite sunscreen products? I'm always looking for new ones to try out. Let me know in a comment below and you'll be entered in the "Tennis Fun In The Summer Sun" Giveaway. For all of the details and for ways to get more entries, just click on this link: A Week of "Tennis Fun In The Summer Fun" And A Giveaway!
© Kim Selzman 2012 All Rights Reserved