Everyday, we are very likely to experience incidental sun exposure, without even noticing it. Whether the sun is out or not, in the city or in the countryside, these moments of sun exposure adds up and are the main cause of sun damage. So how can we better understand and control them?
What is called incidental sun exposure?
Incidental sun exposure is the sun exposure you take unintentionally and sporadically: it is on your way to work, when taking a trip to the coffee shop, a short walk in the park or around the block, walking in and out of the grocery store, the gym or the bank. Even though they may seem negligible at the time and even enjoyable, these moments of sun exposure add up, and research shows that 78% of all sun damage- starting with premature aging – is from incidental sun exposure.
The average person is exposed to 840 minutes of sun a week, no matter the season (well, there’s actually SUN and SUN, depending on the latitude and the season, and our SunKeeper mobile app is here to take care of it).
Cloudy days are not any safer. Clouds might cool down temps, but they only reduce UV radiation by 20 to 40 percent. Clouds can filter UVB rays, which cause sunburns, but won’t block out UVA rays, which penetrate deep into the skin and cause lasting damage and premature aging.
You are exposed even indoors!
And if you sit by a window at work, you’re exposed to eight extra hours of radiation per day, all of UVAs. Actually, sitting next to a window all day exposes you to even more damaging rays without the health benefit of vitamin D production nor the look of a nice glow. Because they penetrate glass, the UVAs bombarding your skin will accelerate aging; on the other hand, since UVB don’t penetrate glass, you won’t tan or burn, and there’s no production of Vitamin D. And this is year long ! so if you’re offered a new office or a desk next to a window, maybe you should think twice or make sure you’re not directly behind the window.