Why You Should Be Wearing Sunscreen Year-Round

For the most part, we understand the importance of sunscreen when heading to the beach or spending time outside under the hot summer sun, but what about the during the rest of the year? You may think that in the Winter it's completely pointless to be wearing sunscreen, but that's not the case. In fact, the sun can be even more damaging to your skin when you least expect it. Even on a cloudy day, "up to 80% of the sun's rays can pass through". This is because there are two types of rays that are reaching you; Ultraviolet A rays and Ultraviolet B rays. So what's the difference between UVA and UVB rays?

 



UVA Rays:

Ultraviolet A rays account for 95% of the rays that reach Earth's surface. These rays are equally present during all seasons and are a major cause of skin aging and wrinkling. UVA rays are what an indoor tanning bed emits because this ray is what helps your skin get that nice tan. Some tanning beds emit amounts of UVA rays up to 12 times the amount the sun does.

 

UVB Rays:

Ultraviolet B rays can also be referred to as shortwave rays. They don’t penetrate the skin as deeply, but are the cause of redness and those painful  sunburns. Unlike UVA rays, UVB ray's intensity varies depending on the season, time of day, and location. They are most prominent from early spring until early fall from 10 AM until about 4 PM, but can still damage your skin year-round. During the winter, they are easily reflected off of snow and ice, which makes them a bigger threat when hitting the slopes. Snow can reflect up to 80% of UV light from the sun, so you can actually be hit by the same rays twice.

 

Sunscreen Tips:

  • Try to find a sunscreen with a broad-spectrum protection. This will protect you from UVA and UVB rays. Most dermatologists will recommend purchasing a sunscreen with a SPf of at least 30. This will block about 97% of the sun's UVB rays. There's no need to go for the super high number SPFs, as they are more of a marketing ploy, since it is impossible for any sunscreen to protect you 100% from the sun.
  • It's best to apply your sunscreen to dry skin about 15 minutes before heading outdoors.
  • Don't neglect your lips! Opt for lip products that contain SPF in them, as your lips can also get burnt, dried out, or be subject to skin cancer.
  • High and low numbered sunscreens last the same amount of time, so make sure to reapply about every two hours or after getting wet.
  • According to the FDA, sunscreens are made to last for up to 3 years, even though it shouldn't last you more than a year if you are using it daily. Some sunscreens will have an expiration date, so make sure to go by that if you can.

 

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