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Published on May 20, 2020

woman sitting outside in a chair with a hat on putting sunscreen on her nose

Don't forget the sunscreen

With many people staying home in an effort to control the spread of coronavirus, the sun might seem like a distant memory.

However, you should still be making sunscreen a part of your daily routine. Even if you are spending the majority of your days inside, you’re still probably getting UVA rays through the windows. Standard glass windows block UVB but not UVA rays, which can penetrate deeper into the skin than UVB rays. UVA rays are the main contributing factor that accelerates the aging process causing skin to sag, wrinkle and have a leathery appearance and uneven skin pigmentation. Additionally, UVA rays are also proven to contribute to the development of skin cancer.

Whether you are inside near the window or able to get out and enjoy the sun be sure to protect your skin from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Use a sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30 or higher. The higher the SPF, the greater the protection. Some lotions, moisturizers and make-up have added sunscreen (usually SPF 15 or greater). This is generally adequate for everyday use with limited sun exposure. But if you work or spend a lot of time outdoors (or behind a window), you need greater sun protection.

Some sunscreen tips to remember:

  • Check the expiration date—expired sunscreen is not as effective.
  • Check the label for a "broad-spectrum" sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Look for UV blockers such as zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or avobenzone (also called Parsol 1789).
  • Apply sunscreen each morning before dressing.
  • Regardless of the SPF, reapply sunscreen about every two hours; more often if you're sweating or swimming.
  • Don't forget those overlooked areas such as ears, neck, nose, the part in your hair and lips (use SPF 45 lip balm).
  • Don't skimp—generously apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors.
  • Reapply sunscreen if you are outside for more than two hours, especially if you have been swimming or perspiring heavily.
  • Use sunscreen even if it's cloudy since burning rays can penetrate clouds.
  • Use sunscreen year round.
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