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Sun care for tennis players

October 10, 2019 3:21 pm Published by

We all love to exercise outdoors when the sun is shining. Exercise enhances oxygen flow to the skin, flushes out impurities from its surface, and promotes production of oil, your skin’s natural moisturizer. For good health we need natural sunlight to prevent depression in the winter and to activate vitamin D, which increases bone density. Some research even shows that sunlight has a protective effect against hypertension and some autoimmune diseases.

But there’s a downside for outdoor athletes like tennis players. Unless they’re very careful they also experience a higher incidence of skin damage and skin cancers because of extra hours spent outdoors in the sun. In addition, over-exercising may suppress your immune system making you more prone to the damaging effects of the sun.

High levels of sweating and lack of protective clothing don’t help either. A recent study found that sweat contributes to ultraviolet (UV) damage by increasing the sensitivity of your skin, making you more susceptible to sunburn.

Here are 5 easy tips we can all do in order to protect our skin from the sun when playing tennis:

  1. Apply SPF 50+ water-resistant suntan lotion, and make sure we keep reapplying it, especially during a long training session/match.
  2. Wear white zinc sunblock, especially on our face (this probably makes you think of Pat Rafter, but it was also a look sported by Anna Kournikova some years ago). Some of the newer sunblocks actually don’t leave such a white residue, which means there is even less reason to avoid wearing it.
  3. Wear a sun-visor or cap to protect our face, and sunglasses to protect our eyes (there are now many types that are specifically designed to help enhance the performance of tennis players).
  4. When playing in the midday sun, wear sun protective clothing (such as UPF 30-50 tops and leggings). This would be the most difficult for me, given that I really suffer the heat and I like wearing tennis dresses and skirts, but I will at least make sure all of my clothing has sun protection. Use a minimum of 30 SPF and make sure sunscreen is fresh; it usually expires after two years. 
  5. Play in the early morning or late afternoon/evening and avoid lessons/matches during the midday sun.

Because we believe in the importance of sun care while out there on the court, you can usually find plenty of sunscreen in every monthly tennis box that we send out to our subscribers. You can check out what other products we put in the box as well at!

Given that the next Grand Slam will take place in the height of summer in Australia, a country that has one of the highest rates of skin cancer, I would like to encourage everyone going to watch the Grand Slam down-under to Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek & Slide! (i.e. slip on some sun-protective clothing, slop on some high protection sunscreen, slap on a broad-brimmed hat, seek shade and slide on sunglasses).

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