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Why You Need Sunscreen Even on Overcast Days

In many parts of the country, a change of seasons is accompanied by a change in daily weather. Warm sunny days may give way to frequent cloudiness as cooler air masses move in. It may be tempting to shelf your sunscreen on overcast days, but even when the sun is shaded by clouds, you need full-spectrum sun protection.

The Sunlight Clouds Do and Do Not Block

It’s easy to see that clouds block sunlight. It’s why overcast days seem drearier and feel cooler. But clouds are really only effective at blocking rays on the visible light spectrum. Clouds do little to filter ultraviolet radiation, the sun rays that penetrate and damage your skin.

UV Radiation and Your Skin

There are three types of ultraviolet radiation from the sun, defined by wavelength:

  • UVA—longest wavelength, penetrates Earth’s atmosphere, clouds, glass and deep layers of skin
  • UVB—medium wavelength, penetrates Earth’s atmosphere, damaging to upper layers of skin
  • UVC—shortest wavelength, most damaging but completely blocked by Earth’s atmosphere

UVA and UVB rays can both penetrate clouds. So, even on overcast days, these types of radiation are penetrating your skin, and when they do:

  • UV radiation “energizes” electrons, causing them to break free of their atomic “home,” resulting in free radicals
  • Free radicals look for vulnerable compounds to attach to so that they can become atomically stable again

The vulnerable compounds are often the compounds that comprise your dermal matrix—collagen and elastin. When free radicals attach to these fibers, they deteriorate, resulting in a loss of tone and resilience in your skin. The result: photoaging—hyperpigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin.

Most damage to the dermal matrix cause by UV radiation is preventable…you simply have to apply sun protection every day, regardless of the weather.

For broad-spectrum sun protection that enhances skin health and can be applied under your makeup, try Hale CosmeceuticalsComplexion Protection and Complexion Perfection.

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