May is national skin cancer awareness month

While using good sun protection is important year round, since we are on the doorstep of summer and people are starting to plan their summer activities, it is a good time to reinforce and educate on the importance of sun protection. Skin cancer is not the only consequence of being in the sun. Overexposure to UV rays can cause sun damage and premature aging of the skin (wrinkles). Nobody wants to look older than they are, but yet they put themselves at risk all the time by not being properly protected in the sun.

The Statistics

  • More skin cancers are diagnosed every year than lung, prostate and breast cancer combined
  • Over 3.5 million skin cancers are detected annually in the U.S.
  • Two million Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year
  • 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime
  • One person dies every hour from melanoma, the deadly form of skin cancer
  • Melanoma rates have risen every year for the past 30 years
  • Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old
  • A single blistering sunburn doubles your risk of developing skin cancer

Sunscreen Basics

  • Select a sunscreen with a SPF of 30+ (SPF only refers to UVB protection)
  • Make sure your sunscreen label says "Broad Spectrum Coverage" or "UVA/UVB protection" to get protection from both UVA and UVB rays
  • Sunscreen should be Water Resistant (no sunscreen is waterproof)
  • Sunscreen only lasts for two hours and then you need to reapply it. Remember our motto: "Don''t Burn...Reapply at the Turn®"
  • Be sure to cover lips, nose, ears and bald spots
  • Apply sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before going into the sun
  • Use sunscreen on cloudy days. 70 to 80% of UV rays can reach the earth on a cloudy day
  • If your sunscreen reaches its expiration probably are not using enough sunscreen!

Clothing: The Forgotten Sun Protection

When most people think sun protection, they think sunscreen. While sunscreen is an important part of a good sun protection strategy, clothing is actually your best protection in the sun. That is why we say "Cover Up Before You Tee It Up".

New technical fabrics have UPF or Ultraviolet Protection Factor Ratings. UPF ratings tell you how well a particular garment will protect against UVA and UVB rays. Many of these garments also moisture wick so they can help keep you cool in the sun.

UPF 50 means that garment allows 1/50th of the UV rays to penetrate or in other words it blocks 98% of UV rays. UPF 30 means the garment allows 1/30th of UV rays to penetrate or it blocks approximately 97% of the UV rays.

For non UPF rated garments, choose those with dark colors and a tight weave for the best protection. The traditional golf cap provides minimal sun protection and only of the face. Wearing a wide brim hat helps protect your face, ears, neck and scalp.

Don't forget to protect your eyes with a pair of UV absorbing sunglasses and ones that protect the area around your eyes.

Sun Safe Tee is a non-profit located in Southern California that is dedicated to teach sun protection strategies to the golf community and to provide them with opportunities for the early detection of skin cancer.To learn more, visit

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