Summer is right around the corner, and so is National Sunscreen Day! In light of this holiday, we’re taking a look at one of the most powerful tools in a soccer player’s arsenal: a trusty bottle of sunscreen.
While we all know the importance of wearing sunscreen on sunny days, there are several potential spots for confusion when it comes to the proper use of the product, such as…
What kind to use
When it comes to choosing a sunscreen, there are lots of types and strengths to choose from. How do you find the one that’s right for you?
First, choose the basics. Your sunscreen should offer broad spectrum protection (from both UVA and UVB rays) and properties that suit you needs. For instance, water or sweat resistant sunscreens are perfect for soccer players who will be sweating throughout the day. The sun protection factor, or SPF, determines how strong the protection is—so the higher the protection factor, the longer you should be able to stay out in the sun. It is worth noting that extra high SPF’s are not necessarily much better at protecting your skin—in other words, an SPF of 100 would not protect much better than an SPF of 50.
In terms of the type of sunscreen you use, choose one you’re comfortable with so that you always use it. Some players will prefer lotions, while others will opt for sprays. When applied properly, both should offer the same level of protection from the sun.
How (and how often) to apply
The key thing to remember about sunscreen application is thoroughness. Cover the obvious spots (face, arms and shoulders) as well as the harder-to-reach ones (the back and ears). Use about an ounce of sunscreen—with more or less depending on your body size and clothing—to ensure adequate protection. Be sure to apply 15 minutes before heading outside, and reapply every two hours or after wetting your skin.
How to maximize its protection
There are ways to add to the protection of your sunscreen. Use SPF lip balm to protect your lips from sun damage, for example. Wear a lightweight top that covers your arms while you’re not playing, and cover up with glasses and a hat before gameplay for extra protection.
We hope that these sunscreen tips help you enjoy summer soccer safely! With the right sunscreen, your long afternoons outdoors can be made more comfortable for everyone involved.