10 Important Reasons To Wear Sunscreen Every Day: It May Even Save Your Life

10 Important Reasons To Wear Sunscreen Every Day: It May Even Save Your Life

With Labor Day just around the corner, the summer season is coming in hot. People are flocking to beaches and poolsides to soak up the long, sunny days and warm nights. But what does that mean for our skin? Should you always wear sunscreen — like every day? We’ll break down the science in painstaking detail to remove all the guesswork from wearing sunscreen.

The short answer is yes, you should wear sunscreen every day, even if you’re inside, even if it’s cloudy, and even if you’re planning on being mostly in the shade.

If you need more convincing, here are 10 super compelling reasons to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen every morning (and reapply every two hours while you’re outside).

  • Reduces the risk of painful sunburn 
  • This short-term benefit is the main benefit people think about when they’re applying sunscreen. Sunburns are annoying, painful, and, occasionally, leave awkward tan lines. You can skip this drama entirely by applying sunscreen every two hours while you’re outside.

  • Cuts your risk of skin cancer in half
  • This one is pretty self-explanatory, no? Anything that cuts your cancer risk by 50% is a no-brainer. This more medium-term benefit can preserve our health, our wallets, and even our lives.

  • Protects against skin cell damage that leads to wrinkles and age spots
  • Sun exposure speeds up the production of melanin (that’s why some people return home tan after a beach vacation). Age spots are formed when clusters skin cells sustain repeated UV damage and pigment builds up around the damaged cells, causing darker looking areas of the skin. Sunscreen can protect your skin cells from sustaining that damage in the first place.

  • The sun is responsible for around 80% of visible signs of aging (and thus having a skincare regimen that doesn’t include sunscreen is wasteful)
  • The big star at the center of our solar system is responsible for loads of good things, like wildflowers, strawberries, warm days, and, largely, life on this planet. It’s also responsible for around 80% of visible signs of aging. If your skincare routine includes retinoids, moisturizers, and firming peptides but not sunscreen, you’re essentially tossing your money into a cauldron of radioactive plasma. We do not recommend this as a financial planning strategy.

  • UVA causes aging
  • UVA rays and UVB rays affect us differently. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, disrupting collagen and elastin production and damaging the DNA in our skin cells. Mutations in our damaged skin cells can trigger all kinds of adverse reactions, from hyperpigmentation and inflammation to sun allergies and even skin cancer.

  • UVB causes sunburn
  • Around 5% of the UV radiation that makes it through Earth’s atmosphere is made up of UVB rays. About half of the UVB rays that reach the surface do so between 10am and 4pm. These rays cause sunburn, eye damage, and also contribute to skin cancer. A broad spectrum sunscreen will protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays.

  • The UV Index isn’t just how hot it is: It is how strong the sun’s rays are on the Earth’s surface.
  • The UV Index can be higher in places where the temperature is lower. For example, the UV Index is often higher at higher elevations. If you’re curious about how much the sun is impacting your location, you can check the NOAA UV Index map.

  • Dense shade can reduce your UV exposure by 75%, but not 100%
  • Shade is great, but it only reduces your UV exposure by 75%. It’s also relative. The shade of a tree or a permeable sun sail will be less complete than the shade from a tall building. So make sure to wear sunscreen even if you’re planning on being in the shade.

  • Clouds only block about 20% of UV rays
  • Did you know that clouds only block about 20% of UV rays? You definitely want to make sure you wear sunscreen even when it’s cloudy outside.

  • Sun exposure dehydrates your skin (and the rest of your body)
  • Maybe this is common sense, but sun exposure dehydrates your skin, leaving it duller and more vulnerable to damage than it would otherwise be. Choose a sunscreen with moisturizing properties to double down on avoiding this negative effect of UV rays.

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