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Sun Damage: Do I Need to Wear Sunscreen All Year?

It’s easy to associate the smell of sunscreen with summer, but the truth is it’s important to wear sunscreen year-round. The sun doesn’t disappear in the winter, after all! Here are a few reasons why wearing sunscreen all year is important.

UV Ray Protection

Did you know that up to 80% of the sun’s rays pass through clouds? That means even on overcast days, you could be putting your skin at risk for wrinkles and sun damage. UV rays are the chief culprit of sun damage, and when such a high percentage of them pass through even the thickest clouds, skin is put at risk. Sunscreen helps block these rays from damaging the skin, thus reducing the chances that you’ll get sunburned. To avoid sun damaged skin, look for sunscreen products with an SPF of 15 to 30.

Lowered Risk of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the world. And unfortunately, many cases of skin cancer are the result of severe sun damage to the skin. UV rays, which we covered above, are a big contributing factor to skin cancer. By investing in a good sunscreen and applying it every day, you’ll be working to protect yourself and lower your risk of developing skin cancer. In fact, sunscreen could help you cut your risk of developing skin cancer almost in half.

Premature Aging Intervention

The last things you want on your skin are wrinkles. While nobody can escape the aging process, it’s possible to ensure your skin stays smooth and healthy for much longer when you wear sunscreen every day. Sun damage from UV rays can speed the aging process and lead to skin that looks thick, leathery, and discolored. In addition, sun damage can inhibit collagen production in the skin, which is what helps skin look and feel smooth and firm. Without collagen, the skin is more likely to develop wrinkles and sag.

More Even Skin Tone

Another symptom of sun damaged skin is skin discoloration. When sun damage sets in, you may develop age spots, notice other discoloration in areas where you’ve been sunburned before, or see dark spots where you previously had none. Skin discoloration may seem aesthetic, but the reality is that discolored moles or portions of skin could be early signs of skin cancer. If you want to maintain smooth, even-toned skin for the majority of your life, regular sunscreen application throughout the year is an absolute must.

Higher Altitudes = More UV Exposure

If you live at a high altitude or you love hitting the slopes on winter weekends, you’re putting yourself at a higher risk for sun damage. UV exposure increases with altitude, which means your skin needs even more protection when you’re higher above sea level. You might think the snow and cold mean you don’t need sunscreen, but the truth is that you’re putting yourself at great risk for skin rashes and sun damage.

Sunscreen application year-round is an essential step in ensuring your skin health. If you’re looking for safe, sunless skincare solutions, contact SE Dermatology Specialists today. We’re here to help your skin glow without any harmful UV rays.

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