Absolutely. Sun safety isn’t a summer-only thing. Over 20% of Americans will develop skin cancer, with much of the skin damage occurring during colder weather. The sun doesn’t care if the air’s chilly, the sky’s cloudy, or you’re drinking a pumpkin latte. Its rays damage your skin just the same. To enjoy the fall weather safely, cover exposed areas with a good zinc oxide sunscreen. Here are 5 reasons why it’s important to wear sunscreen once the weather turns colder:

 

1. Cooler weather barely impacts UV rays

UVB rays (the kind that causes sunburn) are slightly less intense during non-summer months, but UVA rays (the kind that causes cancer) stay strong all year. You may be wearing a long sleeve shirt and pants, but the face, neck, and hands remain exposed, just where most skin cancers occur.

 

wear sunscreen fall

 

2. Clouds do NOT block all UVB rays

About 80% of UVB rays penetrate clouds and fog. Just because the sun is hiding behind an overcast sky doesn’t mean you’re protected. Clouds do block infrared rays, so you don’t FEEL hot, but your skin is getting hit.

 

3. Windows do NOT block UVA rays

UVA (skin cancer) rays travel through most house and car windows. In fact, over 53% of skin cancer cases are on the left arm or left side of the face because of those rays penetrating car windows. When we sit by a window with a good book and cup of tea on a bright winter day, our skin is fully exposed.

 

4. Higher altitudes increase UV strength

UV intensity increases 4-5% every 1,000 feet above sea level. At 5,000 feet it’s almost 25% more intense, and at 10,000 feet it’s over 50% greater. Smart mountain hikers always use good sunscreen.

 

wear sunscreen fall

 

5. Drier weather means drier skin

Cold air dries the skin. To keep skin hydrated, choose mineral-based sunscreens with coconut oil or olive oil and make sure to keep a lip balm with beeswax and shea butter handy.

 

In Closing

Skin cancer rates continue to increase every year, in no small part due to skin getting damaged during colder months. To keep your family safe in the sun year-round, choose a good 30 SPF physical sunscreen, and use it daily on any exposed skin.