Here Comes the Sun: How to Prepare (even in Portland)

Don't be fooled by cloudy days! Myths and tips about sun protection and skin cancer prevention.

summer

Many of us would never forget to pack sunscreen when going on a hot sunny hike, but protecting ourselves on a cool cloudy day never seems to cross our minds. Especially if you're just running errands around town.

Up to 80% of the UV rays that cause sun damage have no problem penetrating through clouds. Patchy clouds can even intensify UV levels, creating a mirror effect as rays reflect off a cloud's edge onto the ground. There is also no correlation between temperature and harmful UV radiation. And because of the mirroring effect from water, sand, snow and concrete, it is quite possible to receive damaging rays while walking in the city, sailing or skiing on a cold winter day.

Hopefully we all know that what's at risk here isn't just a sunburn on a cloudy day, but the dangers of skin cancer, the most common and the most preventable form of cancer.

As we transition into summer, get in the habit of doing monthly skin self-exams. Test your knowledge of sun safety with this short quiz.

Here are some heathly habits for playing in the sun.

  1. Apply some sort of sun protection daily, no matter what. The Eminence line of organic skin care has lotions + makeup with SPF that feels light as a feather. Reapply often, and make sure you are using enough. A general rule of thumb: one ounce will cover face, ears, arms, hands and don't forget your lips!

  2. When choosing a sunscreen product, be sure to read the label. Sunscreens with broad spectrum protection (against both UVA and UVB rays) and with sun protection factor (SPF) values of 30 or higher are recommended.

  3. Use UV resistant clothing that covers as much of your body as possible. Read up on UV protective clothing. You can easily find fashionable, lightweight, comfortable clothing that protects against UV exposure even when wet. Some fabrics have special coatings to help absorb UV rays.

  4. Invest in flattering broad-brimmed hats + wrap-around sunglasses that you LOVE. That's the key, feeling fantastic when you wear your them.

  5. Remember the basics

  • Apply SPF 30+ at least 20 minutes before outdoor activity

  • Reapply every 2 hours or after

  • 10am-2pm is when UV levels are at their highest.

Enjoy the summer! Stay safe in the sun, and if you want some guidance or have skin care questions, book a 20 minute consultation with one of our skin care consultants.

More from the American Cancer Society

Six common sun myths