As our days turn chilly and cloudy, your tube or spray can of sunscreen may be collecting dust. If so, it is important that you pull it back out and put it to use! Despite being well into the fall, sunscreen still needs to be applied year-round, including winter.
The sun does not care whether it is a cold, cloudy day or a warm, sunny day – skin damage from UV rays is the same. Before heading out into the elements, be sure to cover exposed areas with sunscreen. This includes your face, neck, and hands.
UVA and UVB rays exist year-round and can cause skin cancer, sunburns, and wrinkles. These rays also penetrate 80% of cloud cover. This means that even if it is an overcast day, your skin can still be damaged by UV rays. These rays can travel through most house and car windows. This is why most skin damage during the colder months happens while we are driving on the left side of our faces and arms.
In addition to using sunscreen to protect yourself, you can also wear a hat and UV-protective glasses. You will want to avoid sun exposure between 10am and 4pm. On nicer days, if you have brunch or lunch outside you will want to be under an umbrella or awning.
If you are an avid hiker, those higher altitudes will put you closer to the sun and at a higher risk for skin damage. Also, once we start to get snow and ice, it can reflect UV rays off of the ground much easier.
-Meteorologist Ronelle Williams