Cricket Sunscreens 101: Is Zinc Oxide Safe and How to Apply

Protecting yourself against the sun’s potentially harmful rays is important whenever you’re outside. When playing cricket, your skin is could be exposed for several hours at a time so it’s vital that we understand the benefits of sunscreen and how to apply it.

What is the White Cream on a Cricketer’s Face?

When you watch the professional game, you’ll probably see white cream prominently showing on players’ faces. This is a Zinc Oxide sunscreen, designed to offer optimum protection against the sun. It will differ from the regular sun cream that you might buy in a supermarket or a chemist and it’s intended to provide greater defence than over the counter products.

Zinc Oxide Cricket Sunscreen

The Zinc Oxide cream is often referred to as a ‘reflector’; it isn’t absorbed by the skin and, instead, it reflects the sun’s harmful uv rays. There are many reasons why it is a preferred choice over more regular sun creams.

Why do Cricketers Use Zinc Sunscreen Instead of Regular Sunscreen?

Unlike a regular, over the counter sun cream, zinc oxide starts to work immediately. Recommendations relating to regular creams state that you should wait twenty minutes before getting out into the sun. With zinc oxide, you’re ready to head out straight away.

Zinc oxide applications are also better for a very sensitive skin and can cause less irritation.

Is Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Safe?

Studies have shown that Zinc Oxide sunscreens are safe to use and should not cause any side effects when applied. Further research has shown that reflective, physical sunscreens such as this are more effective in preventing skin cancer, offering excellent SPF (sun protection factor) properties.

Therefore, you can feel reassured if you switch from your regular creams to this type of application.


Benefits of Using Physical Sunscreen

To summarise, there are many benefits to using a physical sunscreen such as zinc oxide.

1. No Wait Time

Firstly, there is the fact that it goes to work immediately. Applying zinc oxide sunscreen is easy. Just go inside or in a shady area to spread the cream on exposed parts of your skin, and you’re ready to go out on the field of play.

2. No Irritation

Zinc oxide will also result in less irritation. In fact, it’s even known to help with the healing process for those who have sore and inflamed skin.

3. More Effective

Its effectiveness is also superior to regular sun cream that we tend to purchase in a local chemist or supermarket. In short, it provides a greater, all-round package when it comes to the broad spectrum protection against the sun’s harmful UVB rays and the increased risk of developing skin cancer.

How to Apply Zinc Sunscreen

  • Stage One: Squeeze a good amount of the application onto your fingertips.
  • Stage Two: Apply to the face and any exposed areas; Make sure you have total coverage.

I find that my neck can burn very easily if I haven’t applied enough protection. Everyone is different but the point is that you should make sure that every bit of exposed skin gets the zinc oxide treatment.

Also, if you are aware that you have sensitive skin, then you should simply apply more screen. Don’t just follow what your teammates are doing – be conscious of your own needs.

There are some additional tips that you can make use of: Some of them are quite basic such as standing in front of a mirror to make sure that you have used the screen effectively.

If, at any point in the game, you feel the need to apply more screen, the initial layer should be completely removed first. This will avoid getting dirt or grease trapped which could reduce the screen’s effectiveness.

To learn how to remove the screen, just check out the next section.


How to Remove Zinc Oxide Sunscreen

The screen should also be completely removed at the end of the day when you’ve stopped playing. If any of the layer remains in place, dirt or grease could cause inflammation.

Water on its own will not be enough to remove a physical screen which is extremely stubborn. Instead, an oil should be used to strip it away effectively.

Many players use coconut oil but it’s also possible to get the zinc oxide off completely using almond oil or even olive oil.

Do not dilute the oil: Pour a little into the palm of your hand and massage it gently into the area where the screen was applied.

Carry on massaging for at least a minute – preferably two.

Grab a towel and pour on some warm water – not too hot. Leave the towel on the skin for about ten seconds before gently starting to wipe away the oil.

Now check your skin and, if there is any screen left, simply repeat the above steps.

While removing the physical screen is a bit complicated, it really is worth it. Throughout this guide we have seen just how beneficial zinc oxide is when compared to a standard chemical sunscreen. I really can’t emphasize enough the need for strong protection against the sun and the wider cricketing world agrees with me.

Other Sun Protection Methods

Players should do all they can to protect themselves from the sun’s potentially harmful effects. It’s no exaggeration to say that health problems that can arise could be life threatening.

Other sun protective measures should be considered along with using zinc oxide sunscreen. It’s a good idea to wear a hat and sunglasses, as the eyes and the top of the head can be vulnerable and these are areas where cream can find it hard to penetrate.

There is a huge range of sunglasses available right now to suit all budgets. Many of them will be specially designed to reflect and protect against UVB rays while providing optimum visibility at the same time.

In regards to clothing, I always tend to wear a long sleeved shirt: I just find them more comfortable but these can also provide extra protection to the lower arms. Alternatively, an arm sleeve can do the same job.

Similarly, if you are training or in the nets, try to avoid wearing shorts if the sun is out. The more protection that you can give your body during the long summer months, the better equipped you will be.