Court of the Rising Sun. Play it Skin-Safe.

Updated: July 20, 2010

Heaven on earth to a tennis player? Quite possibly a beautiful, cloudless day on-court.

Enjoy but take care to protect your exposed skin from the sun. Skin cancer/melanoma, is on the rise and preventable.

Tennis PlayerAvoid mid-day play when rays are strongest and make an effort to protect yourself with clothing, hats, visors and sunscreen at other times. There are some great new athlete oriented sun-protective products on the market. Here are some personal favs:

For the Face:

Neutrogena Sport Face Sunblock Lotion SPF 70+. Florida sun tested by this fair editor. Avoid the eye area and wear sunglasses and a visor or hat. If you don’t want to wear a hat I recommend using a face stick to prevent the eye-sting that most liquid sunscreens deliver.

I burn easily so I like the high protection rating of this formulation but do use a facestick myself. Although they leave a bit of a residue on your skin (unlike the lotion above which soaks right in) the facestick formulations below stay put and don’t run.

Mission Skincare Anti-Sting Sunscreen SPF 30+ Facestick, endorsed by Serena Williams, company co-founder. This vitamin enriched formula is clinically tested to not sting the eyes (confirmed here) and it’s easy to apply exactly where you want it without getting your hands messy.

Mission skincare makes high-performance products designed specifically for athletes.

The Face Stick offers SPF 30 sun protection and comes with an Eco Clip carbiner.

The Face Stick by Eco Lips offers SPF 30 sun protection and comes with an Eco Clip carbiner.

Eco-Lips SPF Face Stick 30+works well and doesn’t taste like a load of chemicals if you put it on your lips (added bonus). It also comes in a stick form and rolls right on. Eco-Lips has a hint of a slick feel on the skin as well but it’s 82% organic –so if you want to avoid chemicals on your face it might be good choice for you. Its handy tube clips onto your bag making it easy to find and reapply as you play without getting your hands sticky. Eco-lips also makes smaller tubes of yummy not-too-sweet flavored sport lip balm. SPF 15-30.

Kiss My Face Hot Spots SPF 30 rolls on hard-to-cover ear, nose and mouth areas with a handy applicator, and is made from certified organic ingredients like beeswax, coconut oil and shea butter. It’s unscented, and the applicator is water resistant, making it a great choice not just for the courts but the beach as well.

For the Body:

Neutrogena Ultimate Sport Sunblock Lotion SPF 55+ and 70+. Smooths right on, no grease, no tell-tale white sheen and no slick feel. Sweat resistant.

Mission Skincare Ultra-Sweatproof SPF 30+ Lotion is a fast-drying, sun-resistant lotion.

Mission Skincare Ultra-Sweatproof SPF 30+ Lotion is a fast-drying, sun-resistant lotion.

Mission Skincare Ultra-Sweatproof SPF 30+ Lotion, non-greasy, ultra-dry, vitamin and anti-oxidant enriched, a good feel product that does the job. This product also comes in a fast drying spray.

Apply sunscreen before you get dressed and you won’t miss the next-to-the-strap spots or do a bad job because your court-mates are waiting to play. Be sure to reapply during play if you are a towel user. The facesticks are great for quick touch ups.

Neutrogena products are sold at most drug and grocery stores nationwide.

Mission Skincare is available at and Eco-lips at Kiss My Face products are available at and other online retailers.

If you just can’t deal with sunscreen you can try taking your morning shower using Bethesda Sunscreen Soap (, the first-ever natural body bar with SPF protection. The soap is fortified with 50+ vitamins, minerals and amino acids and leaves a minimum of SPF 10 on your skin, not a great number for those who will be out for long periods of time, but better than nothing for sure.

Another alternative is to wear sun-protective fabrics. Look to Wilson, Fila, Under-Armour, Eliza Audley, LeJay and others for tennis-wear with built in sun protection. You’ll still have to lube up the exposed areas though because these won’t cover everything.

These are just a sampling of options. There are a lot out there. Be safe and use them. Your skin will thank you.

Karin Burgess is editor of a site devoted to what’s new in tennis, tennis fashion, gear, essentials and more.


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