Sunscreen is one of the most essential items during the summer, but did you know it’s also important to wear it daily? That’s right. Even when it’s snowy and there is no sign of the sun, you still need to lather on the sunscreen. However, did you know some sunscreens can have a negative impact on our environment? Just like any other daily necessity, there are ways to avoid this.
Why should you always wear sunscreen?
Sunscreen is an important preventative health care habit that should be maintained year-round. On cloudy days, up to 80 percent of the sun’s rays can pass through clouds so you cannot assume it is okay to forgo protection. In the winter, snow can reflect up to 80 percent of ultraviolet (UV) rays, increasing your risk of sun damage.
Wearing sunscreen can also lower your risk of skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 71,943 people were diagnosed with melanomas of the skin in 2013, and 9,394 of these cases were fatal. By applying sunscreen each day, you cut your risk of contracting skin cancers in half. Using sunscreen daily can also prevent premature aging of the skin and help you maintain an even skin tone.
What sunscreen should you use?
When shopping for sunscreen, look for ones without oxybenzone and octinoxate. These chemicals are harmful to corals and can cause sunscreen-induced coral bleaching. Avoid the aerosol bottle. Some aerosol cans release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere. When mixed with nitrogen oxides in the air, VOCs can cause environmental pollution. There are many different brands of sunscreen so be sure to do your research first.
Written by Emily Su, Class of 2022