Most sunscreens leave you a greasy mess. And nothing ruins a beach day like having to rub cream all over your body every 60 minutes—except maybe massaging a bunch of ground-up shells and chemical-filled, coconut-scented lotion into your slightly burnt skin.
Despite the inconvenience, sunscreen is necessary! Luckily, new spray sunscreens like hint make the whole process easier (and more enjoyable). Which is great, because sunscreen isn't just for beachy vacays. You should be wearing it all day. EVERY DAY. Yes, even in winter, spring, and fall. Why is there such a need… a need for 'screen? We went straight to some dermatologists and skin experts to find out.
"Sunscreen should be worn every day, regardless of the weather or plans for outdoor activities," says Allison Arthur, dermatologist and member of the American Academy of Dermatology. Too much exposure to the sun greatly increases your chances of skin cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Thankfully, skin cancer can be mostly avoided by protecting your skin from the sun's harmful rays.
"Daily sunscreens are vital because we get the majority of our sun exposure not when we go to the beach or the pool but when we're driving in the car and walking to work," says Paul Naoum, co-founder and lead instructor of Esthetics and Cosmetology. As it turns out, sometimes those short bursts of sunshine are the most harmful: According to Cancer Research UK, short, intense exposure to the sun puts you at the highest risk of melanoma.
Clouds do not equal sun protection. Even when it's cold and rainy, some UV rays make it to the ground. Now, some clouds will block most of these rays, but some clouds will reflect the rays and actually increase your chances of sunburn, according to the ACS.
And if you're up in the mountains, even if there's no sun to be seen, you have to be careful. Snow reflects the UV rays and makes them more intense. Then there's the fact that more UV rays hit the ground when you're at higher elevations, according to the ACS. So even if you're wrapped up in a parka, it's extremely important to apply and reapply sunscreen.
You're sitting in your car, enjoying the musical stylings of Jordan Knight's solo career, while sun pours through the window. "Ha, sun! My slightly tinted windows will surely keep me safe from your harmful embrace!" Unfortunately, the sun is giving you a serious dose of UV rays.
"UVA rays can penetrate windows," says Rhonda Klein, a Yale-trained dermatologist.
How does this happen? Well, the sun sends down UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are responsible for sunburns, while UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin. Though they don't cause burns, they still do damage.
Windows happily block UVB rays, but those tricky UVA ones still get through. That's why you might not get a sunburn after a long drive, but the effects of the rays show up over time.
Arthur brought up some startling evidence reported in The New England Journal of Medicine. The journal showed a photo of a man who drove a truck for 25 years. One half of his face looked smooth and fairly wrinkle free for his age, while his other half looked at least 10 years older. That half was exposed to the sun through a truck window for 25 years, and the sun damage is visible.
That's why it's important to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen like hint, which protects you from both UVA and UVB rays.
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