Why you should always wear sunscreen while flying, according to a dermatologist

Thankfully SPF has come a long way since the greasy, pore-blocking creams of our childhoods
Thankfully SPF has come a long way since the greasy, pore-blocking creams of our childhoods

While many of us assume that wearing sunscreen is reserved for sweltering beach days spent in far away destinations, it turns out that your skin could be at risk before you even arrive on holiday.

This comes as a growing number of dermatologists warn we should all be wearing SPF on a daily basis, and that includes when you’re on board a plane.

For the most part, windows on planes have the ability to block UVB rays however, UVA rays, which can hit your skin at a deeper level, can still penetrate glass.

As a result, you are at higher risk of sun-induced damage and even skin cancer.

For pilots especially, wearing sunscreen is of paramount importance with a recent study in JAMA Dermatology revealing that just one hour at 30,000 feet could expose pilots to the same amount of UV radiation as a 20-minute tanning bed session would.

And, while a passenger certainly faces less exposure than pilots it’s still important to heed the same advice – especially if you’re sitting in the window seat.

“The window next to you on a plane may be small, but you’re closer to the ozone layer on a flight by tens of thousands of feet,” Dr Sweta Rai of the British Association of Dermatologists told Sun Online.

“The sun’s rays are much more harmful at this level and we should all be wearing sun cream when flying.”

To help protect your skin, it’s important to wear a broad-spectrum SPF-30 lotion, which will shield against harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Simply apply a marble-sized amount to your face, as well as any other exposed areas such as your neck, chest, hands, forearms, and ears at least one hour before you fly.

It’s also important to re-apply the product every two hours, especially on long haul flights.

If you choose to wear make-up when you travel, some foundations do offer protection but rarely at the recommended factor. In this instance, it is advised that you apply a separate SPF product beforehand for maximum protection.

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