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If you have been following me here on the blog and on my Facebook page, you know that the past few months have been all about Sun protection and preventing skin ageing caused by the Sun rays.

In this article, I want to explain why overcast days are no different than Sunny days when it comes to protecting your skin. Many of us tend to skip the Sunscreen when the Sun is hidden behind the clouds because we assume that the Sunrays cannot reach us. Overcast days are very deceiving and often end in bad Sunburns simply because we were not prepared.

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Did you know?! Up to 80 percent of the Sun’s UV rays can pass through clouds!

As you probably know, there are two types of Sun rays that reach the earth: UVA and UVB rays. To briefly recap, the UVB rays damage your skin immediately and are responsible for tanning of burning your skin. UVA rays are the ones that age your skin and can go through clouds, smog or glass.

Understanding how UV rays affect us

The UV rays are measured in “levels”. It is an international scale ranging from 1 to 20 that indicates the amount of UV radiation that reaches the earth’s surface. If a UV ray reaches a level of 3 or above, it will most likely damage your skin. UV levels vary constantly, depending on ozone depletion, as well as seasonal and weather variations. If you are interested, a few apps are available to help you keep an eye on the daily UV levels

The effect of clouds

The clouds do affect UV levels as they can increase or reduce their intensity. Influencing factors include – what type of clouds are present that day and their thickness / depth. As I mentioned earlier, UV rays are very powerful and can penetrate through thin clouds, which means that the UV levels that will reach you will still be high on an overcast day. Another reason why cloudy days can be misleading is because sometimes, UV rays can reflect off the edge of a cloud, which in turn increases their levels.

Can I skip Sunscreen when the weather is cooler?

We often tend to assume that if the weather is cooler and the skin does not feel as hot, we will not get burnt, or at least not as quickly. But even though your skin feels more comfortable, it is getting the exact same dose of UV radiation as when the temperatures are high. Keep in mind that there is no correlation between UV levels and temperature.

Remember to apply a thick layer of Sunscreen on all exposed areas of your body, (including your face, ears, arms, hands and feet), 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. Do not forget to protect your lips with a lip balm with an SPF of at least 30. Reapply Sun protection (Sunscreen and lipbalm) every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating to ensure optimal protection.

You should follow these guidelines all year round, no matter what the weather. Protecting your skin will not only help you look younger, it will help protect you from developing skin cancer.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article? Remember to follow me on Facebook and Twitter where I post daily and feel free to leave comments and questions to which I will reply as soon as I can.

If you would like to find out more about the treatments available at my Krugersdorp practice or would like to book an appointment, simply phone my rooms on 011 954 0070/3

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