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Sun protection

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November 16, 2015 04:04 PM

By Elizabeth Chaffin and Dr. Alexis Colvin, special to USTA.com

Playing tennis means spending hours in the sun. Make sure to protect your skin with these helpful tips:

What are UV rays?: Ultraviolet radiation is the portion of the sun’s rays responsible for skin damage, which may lead to skin cancer. UV rays are worse in the spring and summer, at high altitude and closer to the equator. Moreover, reflection off water, sand, snow, pavement and grass may increase the strength of UV rays. The UV index lets you know how strong UV rays are on a given day.

What is sun protection?: To protect yourself from UV rays, use sunblock, wear a wide-brimmed hat, tightly woven shirts and pants, or shirts and pants with UV protection, and sunglasses that block 99 percent of UV rays.

When do I need sun protection?: You should always wear some form of sun protection. You can get sunburned on overcast days and in cold weather.

What type of sunblock is best?: Broad spectrum lotion that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Use a minimum of 30 SPF and make sure sunscreen is fresh; it usually expires after two years. It’s best to use a new bottle each year.

When do I apply sunblock?: A minimum of 30 minutes prior to going out in the sun, so that it is most effective. And make sure to reapply every two hours or more often as needed.

How do I apply it?: A good rule of thumb is one ounce or a palmful – the correct amount to cover arms, legs, neck and face. Apply without clothes on to make sure that no surface area is missed, and do not forget the scalp and hairline (use spray-type sunblock to apply to this area) as well as ears and lips.

For additional player wellness information, please contact playerwellness@usta.com

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Elizabeth Chaffin is the coordinator of medical for the USTA, and Dr. Alexis Colvin is the USTA's Chief Medical Officer.

 

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