Should you wear sunscreen on cloudy days? Dr. Joel Schlessinger has the final answer.
You should be applying sunscreen every single day, Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains.
Whether it’s sunny or overcast, daily sunscreen application is absolutely essential. It’s estimated that up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate through clouds. This means you can easily get a burn, even if you don’t feel like you’ve been in the sun too long. Dr. Joel Schlessinger recently spoke to Bustle.com about why it’s important to always wear sunscreen, even when the sun is hidden behind a mass of clouds.
“Because UV radiation is somewhat less intense, it would take your skin slightly longer to burn on a cloudy day than it would on a sunny day,” he says. “However, this doesn’t mean you can completely forgo sunscreen protection altogether.”
Cloudy skies can make sun exposure feel less intense, leading people to believe they don’t need sunscreen. But Dr. Joel Schlessinger warns that clouds don’t offer the same protection as sunscreen.
“Dense clouds would reduce UV radiation to some extent,” he says. “However, clouds are better at blocking visible light, than they are at blocking UV rays, meaning you could still easily burn, even while it’s overcast.”
In addition to direct sun exposure, you’re also experiencing indirect sun exposure, Dr. Joel Schlessinger says.
The sun also poses another unexpected threat: indirect sun exposure. Even if you’re skiing or snowboarding on a dreary winter day, reflective surfaces like the snow can lead to sun damage.
“The sun’s rays bounce off sand, snow, water, and pavement, so you’re actually being exposed to both direct and indirect UV radiation while you’re skiing, snowboarding, or surfing,” Dr. Joel Schlessinger says. “This means, for example, that when you’re skiing in the mountains, you’re receiving stronger direct UV radiation, and the reflection off the snow intensifies your sun exposure by up to 80 percent.”
Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends his favorite sun protection products to keep your skin safe.
Remember that all sunscreens aren’t created equal. When you’re looking for the right formula, a high SPF won’t do you any good if the product isn’t labeled as broad spectrum.
“Because SPF only covers how well a product protects against UVB rays, it’s important to look for a formula that is labeled broad spectrum,” Dr. Joel Schlessinger says.
Broad spectrum sunscreens protect the complexion against both aging UVA rays and burning UVB rays, both of which can cause skin cancer. Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends EltaMD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 Sunscreen to all his patients because its gentle, oil-free formula won’t clog pores or cause irritation. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially if you’re participating in outdoor activities.
For added sun protection on top of your regular sunscreen, Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends Heliocare Sun Protection Pills. These sunscreen pills work to gradually build up your body’s natural defense against damaging UV rays. Taking one supplement every day will help protect your skin against photoaging and other signs of sun damage.
For more on why you should wear sunscreen even on cloudy days, check out the rest of the article on Bustle.com.
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