Putting Away your Sunscreen for the Season? Here's Why You Shouldn't

Sun exposure happens all year round and in the most unlikely of places.


You Can Be Exposed to The Sun Without Even Knowing you’re at Risk


Maybe your routine consists of a long drive to the office, maybe you fly several times a month to greet clients, or maybe you’re a devoted runner, training year-round. Whatever defines your routine, chances are you may be unknowingly exposing yourself to sun exposure, even in the supposed “off season.”

UV exposure occurs in strange places and doesn’t end with the Summer months.

Before you go shoving the sunscreen into the closet, consider some of these prime—yet under-realized--opportunities for getting caught exposed and unprotected:


  • In an Airplane


You should be using sunscreen every time you board an airplane. Seem silly? Consider this: an hour of flying at 30,000 feet can be as dangerous as 20 minutes in a tanning bed. The airplane windows block some of the sun’s UVB rays, but do little to discourage UVA rays. You’ll need broad-spectrum sunscreen to shield your skin from the sun's damage.

Some flights (across portions of the sky where the atmosphere is not as thick) are more dangerous than others, but repeated exposure at any height only increases your chances for lasting damage.


  • In the Car


Skin cancer is more prominent on the left side of the body, particularly on the arm and left side of the face. 52.6% of skin cancers in both men and women occurred on the left side of the body, and 74% of malignant Melanomas occurred on the left.

To what do we owe this unfortunate statistic? The positioning of your driver's seat. As you drive, the left side of your body is getting significantly more sun exposure than the right, which is why more time spent in the car has been linked to an increased risk of developing skin cancer.

So make the effort to sunscreen up before getting behind the wheel, especially for long trips. But why not every day? An hour in traffic each morning adds up fast—an ounce of sunscreen can save you a lot of trouble in the future by keeping your skin healthier and looking younger longer.


  • At the Beach


Relaxing, warm, and low maintenance, beaches make for ideal vacation destinations, especially in the cooler months. But it’s essential to take added sun precautions if that’s where you’re headed.

“Both water and sand can reflect up to 80 percent of the sun's rays, adding to your overall exposure," cautions Perry Robins, MD, President of the Skin Cancer Foundation.

And no, a “base tan” won’t protect you from sun damage.