What clicks in your mind when you come across the names Jonny Bench and Mike Schmidt? Well, they are Hall of Fame baseball players, and besides that, they are skin cancer survivors and leaders of skin cancer awareness programs. It might have started with little bouts of sunburn.
Sunburn in baseball is common, but most players and fans don’t know that the condition is a severe risk factor for skin cancers, including melanoma and basal cell carcinoma. As scientists emphasize, a single sunburn in two years triples your risk of melanoma cancer.
Sunburn is characterized by red, swollen, and painful skin and may be accompanied by mild dizziness and fatigue. Fortunately, sunburns are preventable, and you don’t have to go through the jarring pain and treatment.
Even as you profess your undying love for baseball, whether as a player or spectator, it’s necessary to take measures to protect yourself from the harmful summer UV rays to keep sunburns and skin cancers at bay.
Here are practical tips that dermatologists recommend for staying safe in the sun while enjoying or taking part in baseball action.
1. Apply the Right Sunscreen Properly
Sunscreen is a useful tool to keep your skin safe from UVA and UVB radiation and can be mechanical or chemical. Chemical sunscreens contain inorganic ingredients such as oxybenzone and octyl methoxycinnamate that absorb UV rays and dissipate them as heat. Mechanical sunscreens incorporate organic substances such as titanium oxide and zinc oxide that reflect UV radiation.
Both types are safe, but you want to ensure that you purchase the right option. A suitable sunscreen for baseball has a sun protection factor(SPF) rating of at least 30, known as the golden SPF. More so, opt for a full-spectrum product that will protect you from UVA and UVB radiations.
Apply sunscreen about half an hour before stepping out in the sun to allow it to dry and get absorbed. You should also apply sunscreen regularly, specifically after two every two hours, irrespective of its SPF rating. Keep in mind that sunscreen wears off with sweating, so be sure to applying it more frequently(of course, in the shade) if you are active in the game.
2. Get a Good Pair of Baseball Sunglasses
Wearing an excellent pair of baseball sunglasses in the sun can help protect your eyes from a sunburn-like condition known as photokeratitis(Welder’s burn). Baseball sunglasses are designed to block all UVA, UVB, and UVC radiation while giving the wearer a clear vision during a sunny session. The lenses feature a tint that provides the necessary contrast to enhance the clarity of your vision, whether you are a playing or a spectating
Moreover, the eyewear has a unique design and is made of durable plastic polymer that doesn’t break easily. You also want to go for large lenses that will block as much UV rays as possible. Right sunglasses fit snugly, but not unduly tight.
Comfort is a vital consideration for baseball sunglasses as baseball requires you to run fast without any weighty thing hindering your speed. Look for lightweight, flexible options that are comfortable to wear and move around with when batting or baserunning. Be sure to select sunglasses cushioned at particular areas where they contact your head and face, including the nose and where temples rest on your ears.
3. Limit Your Exposure to the Sun
The longer you expose your skin to the sun, the higher the chances of developing a sunburn. As much as you can apply sunscreen when staying outdoors, the best way to prevent sunburn is by avoiding the sun. Well, this is not to mean complete sun avoidance, but you can plan with your coach to have training times rescheduled to more favorable parts of the day.
Ultraviolet rays are usually strongest between 10 a.m and 4 p.m. This is the section of the day you want to avoid full exposure to the sun. Look to train before 10 a.m or after 4 p.m to limit exposure. You may not reschedule game time, but avoiding training during the critical UV rays window will work.
If you are a spectator, pick seats in a shaded section with a clear view of the baseball diamond.
4. Recheck Your Choice of Cap
You ought to be extra careful when picking a baseball cap. Go for a cap made of fabric with least 50+ SPF rating to guard you against the harmful sun rays. Even as you pay closer attention to the SPF rating, check that the material is breathable to prevent sweat and heat accumulation. The brim should be long enough to shield UV rays from your forehead.
You might consider a baseball cap with a detachable lap to guard your neck and ears. Spectators have a range of choices to pick from when it comes to caps. You can choose between the baseball cap or a wide-brimmed hat that compliments your clothes.
Prevention remains better than cure, and so it is when it comes to sunburn in baseball. Whether you are a spectator or an active participant in the league, it’s wise to take necessary precautions to keep sunburns at bay.
Don’t shy away from spending some extra bucks on acquiring the right sunscreen, sunglasses or cap; it’s way better than grappling with sunburns and melanoma. With these tips, you can be sure that you are guarded against sunburns while enjoying the baseball moments.
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