Although many of us reading the title of this article might initially be thinking “Every day? Really?!”, there are actually many serious reasons why you should wear sunscreen every single day! A large proportion of us will only really wear sunscreen during those summer months or when we go on holiday to a hot destination. For this reason, we created this post to help you understand why it is extremely important to wear it every day – even when it is cloudy, rainy and even when underwater! Let’s get into it.
What Are the Risks and Effects of Prolonged Sun Exposure?
It is a common belief that most risks associated with being in the sun are only possible during summer and this is certainly not true. To give an idea of why it is important to wear sunscreen on a daily basis, here is a list of conditions that can occur from regular daily exposure to UV light, regardless of whether you are in a warm climate or not. Conditions such as skin cancer are a result of your daily exposure to UV light not necessarily just from the two weeks from your sun holiday exposure:
- Skin Cancers and precancers
- Skin discolouration e.g. hyperpigmentation, sun spots, freckles, etc.
- Premature skin ageing e.g. wrinkles, age spots, sagging, etc.
- Loss of skin elasticity
Ultraviolet Rays Are Always Present
In Ireland, it is commonly thought by many people that, as the weather isn’t often that hot and sunny, the UV rays from the sun can’t cause any problems. This is false! Whether it is sunny or not, no matter what the weather is like, ultraviolet rays are always present. There are actually three types of ultraviolet rays that are emitted from the sun; UVA, UVB and UVC. UVC rays are completely filtered through the Earth’s atmosphere and so do not reach the Earth’s surface. UVB rays are the ones responsible for causing sunburn however their intensity varies throughout the different seasons. UVA rays, on the other hand, have the same intensity throughout the entire year. In addition, contrary to popular belief, they are not blocked by clouds. Even on overcast days, only the visible rays from the sun are blocked, but this does not include ultraviolet rays. Ultimately, the best way to fully protect your skin, whatever the weather, is with sunscreen. For best results, aim to go for a broad-spectrum sunscreen, as this will help protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays, simultaneously.
It Will Lower Your Risk of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Ireland, as well as one of the most commonly occurring types of cancer around the world. According to the National Cancer Registry of Ireland (NCRI), there are a staggering 11,000 newly diagnosed cases every year which accounts for over one-third of all cancers diagnosed each year in Ireland. The NCRI expects this figure to double by 2040. Simply by applying sunscreen every day you can dramatically reduce this risk. With that being said, no sunscreen can block 100% of the UV rays emitted from the sun. However, applying a high SPF sunscreen, together with appropriate clothing will be thoroughly effective toward helping to protect your skin from the harmful nature of the UV rays.
Having a Suntan Does Not Protect You
While the appearance of the sun is always quite an exciting time, taking the right precautions is extremely important to ensure that you are having fun while also being safe. One of the most popular activities to do in the sun is, of course, to top up our tan. Unfortunately, however, there isn’t actually a safe or healthy way to top it up. In addition to this, having a suntan itself does not protect you from the harmful effects of UV rays either. The HSE has advised that you should avoid going out when the sun is at its highest and hottest, which is typically around 12 pm or so. They also go on to say that before going outside you should ensure to apply a generous amount of sunscreen, that has an SPF of at least 15 to 30. The higher the better, especially if you plan to be in the sun for longer. With that said, be sure to double-check the expiry date of your sunscreen, most have a shelf life of at least 2 or 3 years.