If you thought you were safe from the harsh rays of the sun indoors, during the winter, or on cloudy days, think again. Not applying sunscreen every day—no matter if the sun is shining or not—may just be what’s causing those sunspots, wrinkles, or dark spots on your face.
Your skin needs the tender loving care of a good sunscreen even when you’re not on your way to the beach. So while the whole world is trying to collectively figure out how to achieve net-zero emission and help the ozone layer heal itself, applying sunscreen is our best shot at protecting ourselves from all sorts of skin diseases.
Let’s talk about why you should make wearing sunscreen a part of your daily routine just as you do with brushing your teeth.
Understanding The Effects Of Sun Exposure
Did you know that there are many different types of rays present in sunlight? What’s most damaging to our skin, however, are UV or ultraviolet rays. Two of these reach the earth’s surface—UVA and UVB.
UVA rays penetrate deeply into our skin and cause premature skin aging, such as the formation of wrinkles and sunspots. There are approximately 500 times more UVA rays in the sunlight compared to UVB rays. What’s even more terrifying is that finding shade in your car or at home won’t achieve anything as UVA rays can pass through glass.
On the other hand, UVB damages your epidermis, which means these are the rays that give you sunburns, skin reddening, and skin blistering. They can directly harm the DNA in our skin cells, leading to skin cancers. UVB rays are most prominent during the summer between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Your skin has a defence mechanism in place to protect you against the sun. However, repeated sun damage will cause sunburn. Not only will your skin look dry, wrinkled, and discoloured, it will also be weakened, resulting in skin that will easily bruise.
Despite how detrimental UVA and UVB rays are to your health, you can always minimize the risks they impose by wearing protective clothing, staying out of the sun, especially during the hottest times of the day, and wearing sunscreen even at times when it seems like you don’t need it.
Unexpected Times Your Skin Needs SPF
Summer and sunshiny days aren’t the only times you should get serious about sunscreen. Slather on some sun protection during the following instances or weather situations:
Yes, even if the days are short and the sun tends to hide behind huge sheets of clouds, UV rays are still beaming down on you and hitting your skin. The sun might feel weaker, but rays can still reflect off snow and ice.
Furthermore, the ozone layer is often thinner during the winter, leaving you with less protection against the sun.
UVA rays are persistent. They will penetrate through glass windows, so it’s important to top off your skincare routine with a layer of SPF even when you’re just working at home or doing your daily indoor chores and activities. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen even when you’re inside your car!
Clouds are not your friends when it comes to sun protection. Even on cloudy or rainy days, UV rays can pierce through clouds, so unless you are completely shaded and protected from the adverse effects of the sun, you will still need to put on sunscreen.
The higher you get, the greater your exposure to UV rays will be. Keep in mind that every thousand feet of elevation results in a 6 to 7 percent increase in UV exposure. Because of the thin atmosphere, you’ll likely get a very painful sunburn.
Wearing Thin Clothing
Avoid wearing thin clothing as much as possible, especially when you’re outside. UV rays can pass through thin and light-coloured fabrics. If you want to protect yourself through what you wear, opt for dark-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants.
However, if it’s too hot and thin clothing is the only option, don’t forget your sunscreen and maybe throw in a wide-brimmed hat for good measure.
Choosing The Right Sunscreen
Not all sunscreens are made equal. When choosing an effective sunscreen for your skin, always opt for broad-spectrum protection first and foremost. Sunscreens labelled with this help protect you against both UVA and UVB rays. Products without this label only protect you against sunburn, not skin aging or skin cancer.
In terms of SPF levels, go for 30 or higher. The SPF number on your sunscreen is the level of protection it provides against sun rays. SPF 30 blocks about 97% of UVB rays.
Lastly, look for the words “water-resistant,” as this will tell you that the sunscreen will stay even if your skin is wet or sweaty. Water resistance typically lasts either 40 or 80 minutes, so if you’re doing vigorous activities or if you’re swimming, reapply when necessary.
You can also invest in sunscreen that has moisturizing agents or face moisturizers with SPF so that you can easily integrate this step into your daily skincare routine.
If you want to go for something that’s more than just sun protection, you’re all set with SETT’s Mineral Sunscreen.
Sunscreen For Skin Health
Caring for your skin is caring for you overall health. Make it a habit to give your skin the protection it needs by putting sunscreen on your body daily and not just when you’re on the beach. Leave your tube next to your toothbrush if you have to. Soon enough, it’ll just be like slipping on your shoes before you head out the door.
Kindly written for SETT by Katie Pierce: firstname.lastname@example.org