Unexpected Exposures: Sun damage Can Occur When We Least Expect It
“Why should I wear sunscreen? I’m never outside.”
“I don’t lay out.”
“I work in an office.”
We tend to believe that cloudy days protect us, and stop ultraviolet rays from reaching our skin. This is a common but unfortunate misconception. “A good portion of my patients say that their sunburns and sun damage really came from being caught off guard,” says Dr. Adam Mamelak, a board-certified Dermatologist and Mohs Micrographic surgeon in Austin, Texas. “They wear sunscreen and cover up, but it’s the unexpected exposures that get them.”
We at Sanova Dermatology would like to share some of the incidental yet important ways you might to be exposed to damaging UV rays. Basically, so that you can expect the unexpected!
As mentioned, a cloudy day might block out the sun, but it doesn’t filter the UV. “As much as 80% of the UV radiation still penetrates through the clouds,” explains Dr. Mamelak. This is true bot in summer and winter months, when we don’t see the sun that often. “Some of the worst sunburns can occur on cloudy days.”
No, this isn’t just for open sunroofs and convertible drivers. “This never seems to come to mind,” mentions Dr. Miriam Hanson, also a board-certified Dermatologist at Sanova Dermatology. “We spend so much time in the car, especially with traffic or a summer road trip. Rarely do we think of it is an activity that warrants the sunscreen.” Dr. Hanson was recently interviewed by intothegloss.com on this very topic to share her sun protection tips while driving.
Whether for work or fun, running errands can range from a quick trip to the store or an afternoon of chaos. What it also means is a significant amount of time accrued in direct sunlight. “Driving, walking in and out of stores, shopping outdoors. These are all short activities that can add up to a substantial UV exposure.” Dr. Hanson advises making a habit of keeping a bottle of sunscreen in your purse or car, so that you can combat and divert the suns rays!
We all want the corner office, but did you ever think about how it could affect your skin? “Depending on the building, UV rays are not always filtered by window glass,” says Dr. Mamelak. Don’t let your skin be vulnerable. One strategy could be remembering to apply sunscreen in the morning, and reapplying at lunch. This can help minimize your chances of developing skin cancer, not to mention preventing photo-aging that comes from the excess sun.