You’re in your minivan — er– make that a BMW 320i. Your windows are tinted (not the illegal way, but the way that’s OK). So, you don’t need to apply any sunblock, right? The window tint has you covered?
Not so fast.
Just because your windows are tinted and the sun isn’t blaring down quite so hot as it was during summer, doesn’t mean the ill effects of UVA aren’t here to stay.
Here’s the short of it
If you’re asked the best way to stay looking young, it’s got to be to wear sun protection daily.
Here’s how sun works against your skin
The sun contains different types of light rays. Visible light allows us to see, and the damaging type is Ultraviolet (UV) rays, which are broken down even further.
The first type of UV rays are UVA rays, which accelerate skin aging. Their long wavelength, allows them to penetrate deeply into the skin through the epidermis, down into the dermis, where it can fracture collagen and elastic fibers. These rays are around all day long, and, get this, they even have the ability to penetrate car windows and clouds.
There are also UVB rays, which cause redness in the skin and are responsible for sunburn. Most prevalent from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., these have a shorter wavelength that doesn’t penetrate as deeply into skin.
The significance of sun protection
You’re familiar with the acronym SPF from your sunscreen bottles. It stands for Sun Protection Factor and mostly measures protection against UVB rays. New guidelines, however, help us understand which products will work against UVA rays too. So be sure to use sun protection products that block both UVA and UVB rays.
And, this is important, and goes back to the introduction:
Don’t just protect yourself when the sun is high in the sky in the middle of July. Incidental exposure accumulates. Unfortunately, every single second your skin is exposed the sun, radiation is causing skin damage. This means skin damage happens not only when you’re at the beach, but also when you’re driving your car.
What to do
Wear sun protection every day on all exposed areas of skin. Sun damage is cumulative, and years of daily small sun damage can add up to a much older appearance and a greater amount of damage to skin.
Shown below: A 69-year-old truck driver who didn’t apply sunscreen because he thought his window would block the sun. You can see, after many years, the result of the sun on the left side of the subject’s face. The moral: Use sun screen.