Why You Should Wear Sunscreen on a Plane
Ever since I found out I had a squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancer) on my lip, I’ve completely changed the way I spend time in the sun. I no longer play volleyball or hang out with my friends on the beach during peak hours unless I’m completely covered and/or under an umbrella. I put on sunscreen every morning before I go outside. And recently, I read this article in Condé Nast Traveler, which pointed out that “a recent study in JAMA Dermatology found 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. But as a passenger, you’re up against a smaller window and far less cumulative exposure. Still, over time, hours in the sun (yes, even by a window) add up, increasing your risk of skin cancer.”
One dermatologist suggests pulling down the shades in the airplane when it’s sunny and another suggests doing so regardless of the weather (cloud cover and snow can reflect UV rays). That same doctor also suggests using a broad-spectrum 30-SPF lotion, which protects against UVA and UVB rays. And don’t forget to reapply a marble-sized amount to your face every two hours and don’t forget often overlooked areas like the back of your hands, forearms and ears.
The most important thing is to be aware, because the consequences of sun exposure can be very serious. For more, see the article.
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