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Golfers are 2.4 times more likely to get skin cancer – what can you do to minimise the risk?

Golfers are 2.4 times more likely to receive a skin cancer diagnosis than non-golfers: Melanoma Fund CEO identifies six brands that offer reliable sun protection.

 

Sun protection is crucial for golfers and greenkeepers due to the extended time they spend outdoors exposed to the sun. Tour players who have experience cancer scares include Adam Scott, Rory Sabbatini, Padraig Harrington and Justin Thomas.

Although clothing and shade is the first line in defence, sunscreen is still important as it helps protect exposed skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays, which can cause sunburn, premature aging, and increase the risk of skin cancer. Finding the right product can be confusing, as can finding something you actually want to wear.

So to make this easy, we ask Michelle Baker, CEO of the Melanoma Fund, and creator of the Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign for her advice on the best sunscreens for golfers so that those on the golf course this summer can keep their skin fresh, healthy and protected. 

“I know it’s a faff and it can take getting used to, but trust me on this, wearing sunscreen will not only cut your risk of skin cancer, whatever your age, but also prevent your tan turning your skin into an old piece of leather, which is never a good look.  Golfers are 2.4 times more likely to receive a skin cancer diagnosis than non-golfers, and with rates of melanoma rising all the time, now is the time to get sun savvy.”   

What to look for when buying sunscreen

To cut through the confusion, here are a few takeaways to keep in mind when looking for a good product: 

  • SPF Rating: Select a sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 30 for adequate protection. Higher SPF ratings provide more protection, but no sunscreen can block 100% of UV rays. 
  • Broad-Spectrum Protection: This means they guard against both UVA and UVB rays, both of which can burn your skin. 
  • Water Resistance: Since golf can involve sweating, opt for a water-resistant formulation.  
  • Non-Greasy Formula: This helps prevent the sunscreen from feeling heavy or clogging your pores. It will also prevent the dreaded greasy grip! 
  • Quick Absorption:  This is important for comfort, and ensuring it doesn’t rub off easily on your clothing or golf clubs. 
  • Fragrance-Free and Hypoallergenic: If you have sensitive skin, these formulations will reduce the risk of skin irritation. 
  • Easy Application: Although lotions are good, sprays or sticks or those with build in applicators, especially for reaching areas like the back of your neck and ears, are great, leaving you without greasy hands. 
  • Non-Comedogenic: This simply means the sunscreen won’t clog pores, which is important to prevent acne, especially for those with oily or acne-prone skin. 

Remember, no matter how good your sunscreen is or if it claims to be a once a day formulation, it’s important to apply sunscreen every two hours, or more frequently if you’re sweating heavily and constantly wiping your skin. 

Although sunscreen is important for all skin with exposure to the sun, wearing a broad brim hat, sunglasses, and UV-protective clothing can provide more comprehensive protection against the sun, and further to this, should always be the first line of defence. 

When it comes to brands, here are six brands that offer reliable sun protection with features that cater specifically to the needs of golfers, ensuring both effectiveness and comfort during long hours on the course: 

Best sunscreen for golfers


1) Solex SPF 30

sunscreen for golfers

This sports focused product provides high-level protection against UVA and UVB rays, ideal for golfers spending prolonged periods outdoors.

The non-greasy formula ensures comfort during physical activity.

Its natty design includes an integrated applicator and mirror, keeping hands clean, and a rope which allows the bottle to be clipped on to your golf bag. 

Purchase direct from Solex for £25


2) Stokoderm Sun Protect 50 PURE

sunscreen for golfers

Designed originally for those who work with tools outdoors, it is perfect for golfers as it helps eliminate a greasy grip.

This cost effective product provides high protection, is fragrance-free, and absorbs quickly.

Available on the Melanoma Fund website, with a £1 donation to the charity for each bottle sold. 


3) Garnier Ambre Solaire Clear Spray SPF30

sunscreen for golfers

The ultra fresh, transparent formula instantly absorbs into the skin without stickiness to form a barrier against the sun, as well as your classic sun protection.

Leaving no white marks, the spray is very water resistant.

This is ideal for those who really do not like to wear sunscreen – you hardly feel it’s there. 

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.


4) Eucerin Sun Gel-Cream Ultra-Light Dry Touch Oil Control SPF50+

sunscreen for golfers

If you like to wear a separate product for your body, this ultra-light, non-greasy, water-resistant sunscreen for the body, which provides very high sun protection for all skin types including sensitive, oily, and acne-prone skin.

It contains Glycyrrhetinic Acid, which supports skin’s own DNA repair mechanism. Oil Control technology with mattifying pigments leaves an immediate dry touch finish on the skin.  

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.


5) La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid SPF 50+

best sunscreen for golfers

This dry-touch gel cream offers a shine-free, matte finish so is good for those with oily skin as it is ultra-light and non-greasy.

It’s water-resistant and suitable for sensitive skin, offering excellent coverage without clogging pores.

The cult-favourite formula utilises a patented photostable filtering system called Mexoplex, which offers superior UVA protection to help shield skin from sun damage.   

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US


6) Ultrasun Sports Gel SPF 50

best sunscreen for golfers

Water and sweat-resistant, this formulation is fast-absorbing, non-greasy, non-sticky, and comes in the form of a transparent gel with GSP-T for infrared protection – ideal for active sports people, quick and easy to apply. 

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.


Best sunscreen for golf – How can golf clubs help?

It is important for golf clubs to stock a variety of sunscreens in their pro shops, ensuring members, staff and visitors can access the right product for them, providing no excuse to go without while they play golf.

Clubs can promote other aspects of sun protection via the Melanoma Fund’s Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign found at www.melanoma-fund.co.uk and ensure they are providing the best sunscreen for golfers.


Paul Miller

Paul has been playing golf for around a fourth of a Century, whilst his time on this Earth is rapidly approaching half a Century!
During that time his handicap, on average, has gone down around half a shot a year and is currently at 8.
His general love of Sport included a time studying the Philosophy and Sociology of Sport.
In 2013 he co-authored a book chapter 'The good and bad of youth sport today'.
His passion for youth sport is equally matched in his role heading up the Buyer's Guides for National Club Golfer.
He wants to inform golfers what gear is the best whilst finding all the best golf deals so you can save money.
Since joining the equipment testing team at NCG he has become a hybrid convert and is ready to tell you to ditch the long irons if you want to hit more greens this season!
Paul uses a Cobra DarkSpeed Max driver, Callaway Ai Smoke hybrids, an Odyssey Ai-ONE Putter and a TaylorMade Tour Response golf ball.

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