Are You Still Wearing Sunscreen?
Fall is here! On the one hand, you may be looking forward to indulging guilt-free in all things pumpkin. On the other, there may be a twinge of bittersweet nostalgia for the warmth of summer that is still fresh in your memory. The time may have come to pack away the fan and turn off the air conditioner, but that does not mean that your sunscreen should be retired for the year. Here, we want to offer up a friendly reminder that your skin is still vulnerable long after the last summer sunset. Additionally, we want to offer skin care tips for the season.
- Summer isn’t the only time of year when sun damage can occur. Sure, the sun may shine brighter and hotter from May through September, but exposure is exposure is exposure. Furthermore, there are two wavelengths of ultraviolet light that could cause cancer. During summer and throughout the entire year, it is necessary to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen on all exposed areas. Broad-spectrum filters Ultraviolet A and B light (UVA and UVB).
- Time of day matters. You may have heard that experts recommend avoiding extended exposure to sunlight between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. This does not change after summer. During these peak hours, UVB light is at its most intense, and this means sun damage. It’s not that you can’t enjoy the occasional outdoor lunch or picnic during Autumn, just try to do so under an awning or umbrella.
- You might just be more vulnerable to sunburn during Autumn! Let’s say that we get a rogue snowfall before expected, or that you spend a rare warm day out on the water. When sunlight is reflected off snow, ice, or water, UV radiation is likely to be higher. This means a burn when you least expect it.
- Switch up your skin care, but not your SPF. Scientific research has recently come to the conclusion that we give far too much attention to SPF and too little attention to other aspects of sun protection. There is no need to increase SPF from 30 to 50+ during the summer months. There is also no reason to lower SPF below 30 any other time of year. Keep it consistent, and remember to use broad-spectrum products for maximum protection.
Sun damage can happen at any time, so it is vital to stay mindful about protective habits. If you need assistance with sunscreen or skin cancer screenings, we are here to help you. Call our West Orange dermatology office at (973) 243-2300.