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  • Do You Need Sunscreen When It’s Not Sunny? And Other Questions

Many people consider sunscreen an optional addition to their routine only if they’re going to spend all day outdoors with the sun bearing down on them during a summer day. The truth is, though, that sunscreen is an essential that should be part of your daily routine. 

Read on as we explain why sunscreen is always a must during the day and debunk different myths about SPF. 

Understanding UV rays

The first step to understanding why you should always be wearing sunscreen is to know the basics about exactly how it’s protecting you against UV rays. 

Ultraviolet rays, or UV rays, in simple terms, are a kind of electromagnetic radiation that is a part of the sunlight that reaches us on Earth. While it plays an essential role in maintaining certain biological processes, excessive exposure can lead to detrimental consequences for skin health.

UV rays from the sun can harm our skin by damaging its DNA, which might lead to skin cancer and signs of early ageing. There are two main types, UVA and UVB. UVA rays are the culprit for accelerated signs of ageing. Meanwhile, UVB rays are what cause the skin to burn after exposure to sunlight. Both can harm your skin, even if you don’t see or feel it right away.

That’s why sunscreen is your skin’s best friend outdoors. It protects you by blocking those harmful UV rays, reducing your risk of sunburn and skin cancer. 

Addressing sun protection myths

Myth #1: You don’t need sunscreen when it’s cloudy

Have you ever peeked out of your window, saw it was an overcast day, and decided you could skip the sun protection today? If the answer is yes, you’re not the only one. It’s a common misconception; many mistakenly believe that we only need sun protection on sunny days. After all, why would you need protection if all you see are clouds?

However, just because you can’t feel the warmth on your skin doesn’t mean that the UV rays are nowhere to be found. The sun may be hiding behind the clouds, but its rays can still reach you even if it doesn’t seem like it. 

Clouds don’t block all UV radiation, and depending on their thickness, a lot can still get through. In fact, studies have shown that, in some cases, partially cloudy skies can even increase UVB rays and make it potentially more dangerous to go out without protection. 

So, the answer to ‘Do you need sunscreen when it’s not sunny?’ is yes. Regardless of the weather, it’s a must to have sunscreen on in order to guard yourself against those rays and the damage they can bring to your skin.

Myth #2: You don’t need sunscreen if you’re indoors

Now that we’ve established why you need sunscreen even on cloudy days, we address another myth about UV protection: the misconception that you are completely hidden from those rays when you’re indoors.

Surprisingly, your sunscreen has a role to play even when you’re indoors. UV rays can penetrate through windows, which means your skin could still be affected even when you’re inside. Remember, this includes cars and other vehicles with windows, too! So, even if you’re just out to pick someone up or get food at the drive-thru, you need to get that protection.

On the other hand, if you’re in a windowless room, then you won’t need protection from the sun. 

Myth #3: You don’t need sunscreen if you won’t be out for long

Have you ever decided that you don’t need sunscreen because you’re just stepping out for a quick errand down the block or because you just want to take a quick walk before continuing to spend the day indoors? It’s a common myth. 

Depending on how high the UV index is, the rays can be strong enough to start burning skin within minutes. So, no matter how quickly you’ll be outside, sunscreen is always essential. 

How to choose the right sunscreen

Now that we’ve cleared up these misconceptions, it’s time to choose the right sunscreen you can use every day. With tons of options on the market, it can get overwhelming. So, here’s a guide on how to choose your go-to sun protection. 

Prioritise high SPF

Aim for sunscreens with a high SPF rating to ensure better protection against UVB rays, which are primarily responsible for sunburn. The SPF number indicates how effectively the sunscreen can guard against sunburn, with higher numbers providing greater protection. Remember, SPF 30 blocks about 97% of UVB rays, so it’s a good starting point for most outdoor activities.

Opt for broad-spectrum protection

Choose a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, guarding your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays can penetrate deeper into the skin, contributing to ageing and long-term damage, while UVB rays cause sunburn. Broad-spectrum sunscreens ensure comprehensive skin defence against the sun’s diverse harmful effects.

Ease of use matters

Since we’ve established that regardless of your daily routine or the weather, you need to be wearing sunscreen, choosing a product that you’re more likely to use every day is a good idea. So, select a sunscreen that fits seamlessly into your daily routine rather than a last-minute addition you may forget about. 

Whether it’s a moisturising sunscreen that hydrates or a natural tinted sunscreen that replaces your foundation, the key is consistency. 

Go for natural suncare for skin-friendly ingredients

Look for natural suncare products with beneficial ingredients that go beyond protection to nourish your skin. Natural sunscreen options have skin-loving components that can enhance your skin’s health while shielding it from the sun’s rays. Prioritise formulas that avoid harsh chemicals so you won’t irritate your skin. This is especially true for those with sensitive skin and kids. 

Key points to remember

  • UV rays can penetrate clouds and windows: Don't skip sunscreen on cloudy days or when you're inside near windows. As long as sunlight can reach you, UV rays can reach and harm your skin
  • Brief outdoor moments still require protection: Even short periods outside expose you to UV radiation. Apply sunscreen, no matter how quick the errand is.
  • Choose sunscreen wisely: Look for high SPF and broad-spectrum products that fit comfortably into your daily routine. Opt for natural, skin-friendly ingredients for additional benefits.

At Little Urchin, we combine the strength of natural ingredients with science to offer top-quality suncare and skincare solutions. Committed to protecting our planet and promoting health, we craft cruelty-free, nutrient-rich, and environment-friendly products, securing a healthier future, one skincare routine at a time.