Spring is almost always a breath of fresh air after the winter season, and spending some time in the sun is usually a high priority. That’s a good thing! Getting some enjoyment and activity after a long, dark winter is important. However, it can be easy to stay in the habit of going without sunscreen while you enjoy the warmer weather. There are a lot of reasons to keep wearing it during winter, and the same is true during the spring. Here are some reasons to make it a habit before the summer season.
Clouds won’t stop UV rays
Even on cloudy days, UV rays can damage your skin. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that over 90% of UV rays can penetrate light cloud cover. If you’re going to spend considerable time outside on a cloudy day, it’s worth covering up and wearing some SPF. This risk also goes up the higher in elevation you are, where the clouds can become lighter and UV rays don’t have to travel as far. The WHO estimates that UV rays increase by about 4% for each one thousand feet or so in altitude.
Especially in Seattle, weather can be unpredictable during the spring. This means that it might be rainy during the morning and sunny by afternoon. If you’re making plans to be outdoors, you should always err on the safe side and apply some sunscreen before you begin your activities. This means you won’t be caught without it if you find yourself spending more time outside than you thought or in weather with a higher rate of UV exposure. It’s worth noting that, even on rainy or wet days, water can reflect UV rays just as much as sand and snow.
You might spend more time outside
Like during summer, you’re likely more prone to spending time outside during the spring. Winter can be dark and cold, making it easy to stay inside and away from UV rays. However, if you’re spending more time outside, you’re exposing yourself to more UV rays just by nature of putting yourself where they can reach you. For this reason, it’s also important to wear SPF in the summer— it’s not necessarily a riskier time of year when it comes to UV rays, but rather you’re exposing yourself to them more regularly.
What about Vitamin D?
There’s a lot of discussion about vitamin D and its ties to seasonal depression. Especially in the spring, seasonal depression sufferers can find more sunlight and vitamin D in higher doses, since UV rays are one source of vitamin D. This usually includes going outside without SPF. However, the American Academy of Dermatology does not recommend getting vitamin D from sun exposure because it’s a known risk factor in skin cancer. If you’re considering your options for vitamin D sources and seasonal depression, be sure to discuss it with your dermatologist.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy spring weather, and it’s important to do it safely in a way that protects your skin. Seattle Skin and Laser has a variety of different sunscreens available for purchase such as Elta MD, Colorescience, Solbar, Skinceuticals, and PCA.