OUR GAME: Soccer, Skin and Sunburn – Prevention way better than pain

OUR GAME: Soccer, Skin and Sunburn – Prevention way better than pain

Sunburns hurt. Imagine then that you get one, and then have to play a soccer match the next day? That one experience is likely going to be enough to make you proactive the next time you go out under the sun, whether playing soccer or not.

The internet has no shortage of information about sunburns and what to do to avoid them while playing soccer, or how to get through one if you have to play.


(See more “Our Game” columns here.)

From Yahoo Answers:

My whole body is burnt. I’m like a lobster. To make things worse, I have to play a soccer game tomorrow. Any advice for making the pain go away, even if it’s just for a couple hours? 

“Put White Vinegar in a spray bottle and spray your sunburn frequently with the Vinegar. It will take the sting out of it. Take some aspirin before you go to bed. Early sunburns can lead to cancer later in life. Aways use sun screen.”

“Try using a spray or lotion that has lidocaine in it. It helps take some of the sting out of it. It won’t help completely but will make it a little more bearable.”

“If you have some aloe vera, put it in the fridge, so it gets cool, that makes it feel good for a little bit.”

donovan sunscreen
The May 26, 2014 print edition of Sports Illustrated featured an ad with Donovan showing a lot of skin and highlighting the unfortunate results of not wearing sunscreen.

Soccer star Landon Donovan’s father got skin cancer. This made Landon an natural spokesperson for the disease and sunburn prevention. In this FitnessMagazine.com blog Donovan is askedabout soccer player skin protection:

As a soccer player, you have to be out on the field a lot. What’s your sunscreen regimen? I put sunscreen on about a half hour before I go out. For people that sweat a lot, it’s necessary to find sunscreen that is water resistant because if you put it on too late, it’s dripping in your eyes and that doesn’t feel good. If I’m not going to be outside for a long time, then I at least put on a hat and sunglasses and make sure I’m covered so that I’m not exposing myself directly.

Do you have a favorite brand you find works really well while you’re out being active? I’m pretty easy as far as that stuff goes, so as long as it doesn’t go in my eyes, I’m good. I prefer the spray, but it’s easier to get the lotion in the locker room. The spray is nice because you don’t get it on your hand and it’s not greasy. I don’t want it to be greasy.

Donovan also wrote this entry for HuffingtonPost.com:

My father’s experience has a particular significance in my mind in that it drives home the importance of appropriate use of sunscreen and covering up with protective clothing and hats, as well as early detection of skin cancer. Because he made the decision to go to his doctor, they were able to remove the cancer before it worsened. My father is now healthy and happy, living life to the fullest. He was lucky — many people aren’t.

It took some time to develop a routine, but now I make sure to remind myself that taking just a few moments to slather on sunscreen before I head outside and to examine my skin from head to toe once a month could make a huge difference in the long run, and could ultimately save my life.

Ingredients are key

The best sunscreens protect against both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. UVA rays penetrate more deeply into the dermis — the deepest layer of your skin. These rays not only can age your skin prematurely, but they can make it more difficult for your immune system to protect you from cancer. UVB rays don’t penetrate as deeply but they are what cause your skin to burn. Both UVA and UVB rays contribute to premature aging, freckles, age spots and wrinkles. Too much exposure to both of these types of ultraviolet rays can increase your skin cancer risk.

When choosing a sunscreen, look for labels that indicate that the brand has broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) coverage, and look for a combination of these ingredients:

Block UVA rays:

  • Oxybenzone
  • Avobenzone (Parsol 1789)
  • Mexoryl
  • Ecamsule

Block UVB rays:

  • Padimate O
  • Homosalate

A matter of timing, and more

1. Hours

The first measure you can take to prevent sunburn while playing soccer is to study the hours that your practice session is planned to take place on. The most dangerous time on the day to practice on is between 11am – 4 pm.

If your coach plans to hold a session between 11am – 4pm, tell him to read this article. Or you could just voice your concerns and ask your couch if he or she can possibly plan your practice session outside these hours.

2. Sunscreens

The second thing you can do in order to prevent sunburn in hot and warm weather is to research different types of sunscreens. There are plenty of them like creams, gels, locations and even sprays that can help you with sunburn prevention.

If you are a person that sweats a lot you should consider purchasing a sweat or waterproof sunscreen. However, you should always look out for the most effective sunscreen available.

3. Special Clothes

The third thing you can do in order to prevent sunburn is to buy special clothing and equipment armed with protection from the dangerous rays of sun.

If your coach doesn’t require clothes that have such abilities, you may want to discuss to have special equipment and clothes that can be used as long as it fits in with your teammate’s attire.

If you can’t find clothing that will protect you against the rays of the sun, you do have some other alternatives. Thanks to the new revolutionary technology there are laundry soaps that actually contain sunscreen.

With this soap you may wash your own clothes with it and then put the clothes on. All parts of your body that are covered with clothes will be protected from the dangerous rays of the sun.


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