Wearing sunscreen is one of those things that we know we should do, but is easy to forget. Sure we remember to slather on the SPF during critical times like at the beach or the pool. But even if you feel like you stay indoors all day, there are still some unexpected times you should wear sunscreen that you may not be. After all, the sun is sneaky. You may have even had some experiences where your skin seemed fine in the sun all day, and it was only after being inside for a couple of hours that you realize you developed a burn.
So to help prevent sunburn and damage when you least expect it, I emailed with skincare expert and board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Joyce Imahiyerobo-Ip, about all of the times you really should be wearing and reapplying sunscreen. Turns out, the type of SPF you use is just as important as how frequently you use it. According to Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip, in addition to infamous UVA and UVB rays, infrared rays are also responsible for contributing to premature skin aging and even skin cancer. In order to have the most complete sun-protection possible, it is therefore important to look for a formula that protects against all three types of rays.
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So while it's best to be in the habit of applying a sunscreen every day, to avoid sneaky damage, here are three times you may not have realized how important having an SPF is:
1. In The Car
"For years, dermatologists have observed that patients often have more sun damage on the left side of their faces than on the right because of UVA radiation penetrating through car windows," says Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip. She explains that even though windshields block out UVB rays, UVA rays can still contribute to sun damage and skin cancer. So even if you're basically "indoors" all day, if you go for a drive or work near a window, it's still important to rock some sort of SPF.
2. In The Winter
When the temperatures drop, it can be easy to forget an SPF. Most of you is covered anyway, right? Well, wearing sunscreen is just as important during the colder months as it is during the summer, says Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip. She stresses that especially if you're playing in the snow or participating in winter activities like skiing, there's "an increased risk of sunburn because the sun's rays are reflected off of the snow."
3. While Swimming
Sure, going swimming probably isn't one of those times you forget to slather on the sunscreen. But according to Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip, many patients forget to reapply. She reminds that just because a sunscreen is labeled as "waterproof" doesn't mean it will last forever. At most, you're only likely to get about 80 protected minutes before the effects wear off. And because the sun's rays reflect off the water onto your skin, swimming can actually put you at an increased risk of sunburn. So to make sure you're fully protected while swimming, keep an eye on the time, and remember to wait 20 minutes before entering the water after every SPF application. This way, says Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip, the sunscreen will have had enough time to absorb and take effect so it won't be washed off as soon as you jump into the water.
After all, the effects of forgetting a sunscreen can really add up on your skin.