DO YOU REALLY NEED TO WEAR SUNSCREEN EVERYDAY?
All of you who have seen me for skin-care treatments know I preach about the use of sunscreen and that it should be applied every day. Some of you tell me that you put it on only when you are going to spend time outdoors or that your makeup has sunscreen in it, which is good enough. I’m going to be blunt and straight to the point…. Sunscreen MUST be worn every single day whether you are outside, inside or anywhere in between.
Everyone knows that sunscreen should be worn while outdoors. I get asked a lot if it’s necessary to apply sunscreen if it’s cloudy outside, or if they are going to stay in the shade. Some people still think sunscreen isn’t needed during the winter months! It IS necessary to wear sunscreen even in those conditions. Do not let clouds, shade or cold weather give you a false sense of security, especially here in Colorado where the air is thinner due to our high altitude. High altitude means we are much closer to the sun. Did you know that snow can reflect 80 percent of the sun’s rays? The damaging sun’s rays can also penetrate thick cloud cover, which puts you at risk even on those cloudy, gray days. Don’t run for the shade if you forgot to apply your sunscreen, because it won’t do you any good. As long as you can see light, the UV radiation can and will put your skin at risk for premature aging as well as skin cancer.
Now you may be asking why you should wear sunscreen if you are going to stay inside for the day. Maybe you are staying home for the day, or you will be at work in your office all day. Sorry to give you the bad news, but you still aren’t safe if you didn’t apply your sunscreen. How can that be? Some glass windows may protect against sunburn-causing UVB rays, but they don’t stop the damaging UVA rays, which suppress the immune system and result in premature aging of the skin, wrinkles, and brown spots, and can still cause skin cancer. And that’s not all, now there are clinical studies showing that indoor fluorescent light bulbs can cause the same damage while putting you at risk for skin cancer. All this time we thought we were helping the environment by using energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs to only find out they can affect the look and health of our skin.
So now you know sunscreen is necessary whether you are outdoors or indoors, but what about the in-between? Wearing sunscreen is not only necessary, but crucial when traveling by car, plane, train, or whatever your choice of travel may be. UVA rays can penetrate all car, plane, and train windshields and windows while bouncing off of reflective surfaces making it even more damaging. Next time you are driving all around town running your errands and carpooling for the kids remember to slather on the sunscreen before you hit the road.
The advice that I give my patients is wear your sunscreen every single day. I recommend SPF 30 or higher due to our high altitude and reapply every 2 hours if outside for an extended period of time. Don’t just apply sunscreen to your face, it’s important to apply it to your hands, décolletage, neck, forearms, lips and ears, even if you’re not at the beach or pool, because these areas are exposed on a regular basis.
We love our sunshine here in Colorado, but the sun’s rays are at their strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so direct sun exposure is best avoided during those times. If you love the outdoors remember that sunscreen needs to be fully absorbed into your skin to work properly and give you maximum effectiveness, so be sure to apply it at least 15 to 30 minutes before heading outdoors.
The only true way to keep your skin looking young and vibrant is to keep it healthy.