Sun shining bright on the pickleball tournament venue.
The sun isn't necessarily a pickleball player's best friend. PPA Tour

Five must-have items for sun protection

DALLAS, TX – If someone is bugging you about wearing sunscreen, it’s because they love you. And here I am, virtually bugging you about wearing sunscreen. 

It’s the middle of summer and pickleball is the hottest activity around. Literally and figuratively. And while dinking around at an indoor facility like the Picklr is always a good option, some of us have to sweat it out in the great outdoors. 

Looking for sun protection? These are five must-have items to help in that department:


Pack your favorite SPF and lather yourself up before hitting the court.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, sunscreen helps protect your skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays that cause premature aging, wrinkles, age spots, and skin cancer. 

Everyone. Needs. Sunscreen. No matter your age, gender, or skin tone. 

All sunscreen is fair game, and I feel like this should be obvious, but I’ll say it anyway: tanning oil doesn't count as sunscreen. 

Wear broad-spectrum protection with SPF 30 or higher, and make sure it's water-resistant since you’re going to be sweaty. 

Apply it all over your skin that isn't covered by clothing - including your face, neck, and ears - to protect against harmful rays.

UPF Clothing

Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF), according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, indicates how much UV radiation a fabric allows to reach your skin.  

For example, UPF 50 fabric blocks 98% of the sun’s rays, and allows 2% through, which dramatically reduces exposure. 

Etta Wright playing pickleball in a long sleeve shirt and leggings
Etta Wright at the Veolia Desert Ridge Open PPA Tour

Luckily, a lot of athletic and athleisure fabric and clothing has a naturally higher UPF. Darker colors, denser weaves, and fabrics like polyester and nylon offer more sun protection than natural fibers.  

This option is great for pickleball players who don’t like taking the time to fully lather up or hate the oily feeling of sunscreen, but still want protection. 

Players like Vivienne David and Etta Wright are good examples of pros who prioritize sun protection on the court. 

Lip Balm

Now this may seem like a random one, but did you know that skin cancer can also form on your lip? In order to protect your lips, apply lip balm with SPF 30 or higher to keep them safe. 


Don’t forget to wear your favorite hat to protect your head and shade your face. 

Anna Bright on the pickleball court in a hat and sunglasses
Anna Bright at the Veolia Sacramento Open PPA Tour

Similarly to UPF clothing, not all hat fabric is created equal. For example, a straw hat allows more sunlight to penetrate through because of loose fibers, so be sure to look out for the UPF seal of approval, or opt for a dark colored hat to protect yourself.

Bucket hats, wide brim, and legionnaire style hats are the best for more protection. 


Sunglasses may not be the highest priority, but they are a necessity on the pickleball court.

Anna Leigh Waters wearing sunglasses while playing pickleball
Anna Leigh Waters at the CIBC Texas Open PPA Tour

River Heights Eye Care urges people to wear sunglasses because they protect your eyes from injury, eyelid skin cancer, cataracts, and a variety of other long-term issues. 

Sunglasses also help players see the ball better, so that's a definite win.

Don’t be a fried pickle. Protect your skin.