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Does The Wind Increase Your Chances Of Getting Sunburn?

by kelly / August, 19 2020 01:30

Photo of a woman's hair blowing in the wind by the ocean

A sunny and windy day can feel awesome but it can also be dangerous to your skin. We know that spending time in the sun without proper sun protection can lead to sunburn and sun damage. But it surprised me to learn that the wind can also be harmful to our skin.

Wind Reduces Our Skin’s Natural Sunscreen

So how does the wind hurt our skin? According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the wind reduces our natural skin protection.

Wind can cause the outside layer of our skin to dry out and weaken. When our skin dries and weakens, skin cells come off and we lose our outer layer of skin.

This outer layer of our skin contains urocanic acid – a natural sunscreen. Now don’t go thinking you don’t need actual sunscreen. Our skin’s natural sunscreen only offers a low SPF protection of about 1.5 according to a 2011 study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

But losing some of the outer layer does reduce our skin’s natural sun protection ability.

Wind Reduces the Sunscreen We Apply

And much like it strips away the natural sunscreen of the skin’s outer layer, wind does the same to the topical sunscreen we apply.

That’s because the sunscreen you apply coats the outer layer of our skin. So if the wind is drying and our outer skin layer is coming off, the sunscreen coating can go with it. All of this skin cell removal makes us more vulnerable to sun damage.

Don’t let the wind fool you. It can have a cooling effect on the skin so you might be less likely to notice the sun’s rays as you’re getting a sunburn.

Protect Your Skin Against the Wind

Ok, I know it might all sound overwhelming but you don’t have to be afraid of the wind. There are simple things you can do to protect your skin on windy days:

  1. Use a very emollient sunscreen – according the Skin Cancer Foundation “by adding more moisture to your skin, you will likely decrease the dryness and sloughing that makes it more vulnerable to damage from UV rays.” We just so happen to have a moisturizing sunscreen, our Natural Face Moisturizer SPF 30
  2. Reapply the sunscreen – the recommendation is at least every 2 hours
  3. Limit your sun exposure on windy days or shelter from it
  4. Cover up – think long sleeves, pants, gloves, sunglasses, hats, etc.

Skin Care Smarts

The next time you head out check the weather report and make sure you’re prepared for all the elements: the sun and the wind. And no matter what don’t forget the sunblock!

For even more skin care tips and information check out our Skin Care blog series.

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