From Panama Jack — March 27, 2015 at 5:00 am

Sunscreen on a Cloudy Day

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©istockphoto/MichaelUtech

©istockphoto/MichaelUtech

We all know sunscreen’s essential for a bright day at the beach, but what about cloudy days? Well, the short answer is that you should probably wear some then too. Regardless of the forecast, a little bit of sunscreen, even on a cloudy, day, can help your skin stay healthier and keep it looking great throughout your life.

Like all good things, too much sunshine can turn bad. Sunburns, sunspots, leathery skin, and even cancer can result from over exposure to UV rays that penetrate your skin and, pardon the imagery, cook it. That’s not to say that we should all hide indoors, turning pasty from our neo-Victorian skin care regimen—quite the contrary.

It’s great to get a little sun and even those pesky UV rays are good for us to a certain point (stimulating production of vitamin D). Luckily, it’s surprisingly easy to strike a good balance between staying indoors and turning yourself into a handbag.

Sunscreen blocks UV rays, protecting your skin from over exposure. Organic matter in the sunscreen absorbs some of the rays before they reach you while inorganic compounds reflect and scatter the rays, acting as a very literal barricade between the sun and your skin that’s even more effective than wearing a shirt.

While it’s easy to assume that a grey sky will do just as well, UV rays can penetrate clouds to reach your skin. You may not need a heavy coat of SPF 50 but wearing a little bit of sunscreen will help slow the aging process

If you’re just running errands—walking from the parking lot inside a few times throughout the day, you’ll do fine with lip balm, makeup, or face lotion that has a little SPF of its own. Usually these products hand around the SPF 5 mark and have it printed boldly on the label. Rain or shine, these products tend to be better for your skin than alternatives without the sunscreen since they protect from UV rays but also tend to include moisturizers that are often left out of lesser products

On days when you’ll be outside more, beef up your protection accordingly. If it’s bright and sunny, you have to protect yourself from obvious ill-effects of over exposure like sunburns and spots but even on cloudy days, a light coat of sunscreen is a good idea.

You may not see the telltale redness indicating that you should have gone inside a while ago but your skin will be drying out and more long-term effects can progress under a cloudy sky as well. If you going to be outside under a cloudy sky for more than an hour or two, I’d recommend a light coat of something like Panama Jack’s SPF 15 Continuous Spray Sunscreen. If you’ll be out longer, up the SPF and reapply a couple time throughout the day. It’s a simple way to keep your skin healthy and looking younger.

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