Why I wear sunscreen under “normal” clothing in the fall and winter is because of years of living in a sunny climate.
Most of the time, when we are out in the sun in the winter, sweatshirts are all we need. Yes, sunscreen on your face and neck is important. Even in my sunny climate, we get sunburned in the cooler months of the year.
In the cooler months, we may think that it is OK to skip some of the skin protection.
It is a fact that hot or heat is not necessary for sunburn. The sun’s ultraviolet rays are present even when it is freezing. When the temperature is colder, this means you are farther from the sun, so the rays are not so intense. Sunburn will take longer, but it will happen.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that it takes heat to get a sunburn. Remember all those sunburned faces of the Olympic skiers and snowboarders? The biathlon contestants and cross-country skiers?
I Noticed the Olympic Contestants’ Faces
As the interviews get close, the camera allows us to observe the skin of the contestants. Their skin is evidence that taking care of your skin in the cooler times of the year is important. Most young athletes tend to get careless with skin protection
You probably aren’t planning to compete in the outdoor events of the Winter Olympics, but a ski weekend can do a lot of damage. When you are having fun in the sun and it is cold, sunburn doesn’t register as a danger.
Attending a football game and spending 4 hours on the sunny side of the stadium can cause sunburn even in November, and December, especially in sunny regions, like central Texas.
Hello, I’m Sami Williams, and I have been in the battle against skin cancer for over four decades. My struggles, marked by the frustrations of recurring skin issues and the challenges of less-than-desirable surgical outcomes, have fueled a passion for sun safety that extends through generations.
How Much Sunscreen Is Needed When Wearing “Normal” Clothing?
When your “normal” clothing is made of tightly woven fabric, you will be protected from sunburn better, but do you know what tightly woven means? Check out this link for what woven means, if you are wondering.
Your jeans are woven, some may have the addition of an elastic thread to allow for stretch. Combining synthetic and cotton for jeans produces a fabric that will keep the sun out, as long as the fit of the jeans is not skin-tight.
In today’s fashion world, the trend for females is tight-fitting jeans. The tighter, the better. However, this can stretch the fabric of your jeans and allow the sun to penetrate the small weave holes. With a looser fit, you will be safer from the sun.
And yes, protecting your legs is important, ask my daughters who both have had skin cancers removed from their legs. Big enough skin cancers that stitches were required to close the wound area.
Skin cancer while not the deadliest of cancers, is nonetheless something to be taken seriously. Having scars from the removal of skin cancers is a permanent thing. They stay, even after healing.
It is easier to wear clothing to cover your skin than to keep sunscreen going all the time. I doubt that super-stretched jeans are going to protect you from sunburn if you are out in the sun. The best I can say about jeans that are too tight is that they are better than short shorts when out in the sun.
However, it will be easier to apply sunscreen to your skin every 90 to 120 minutes with short shorts on. Just remember your backpack so you can have your sunscreen handy.
I Had This Problem With Medication
It is easy to forget sunscreen when you already have a tan. It is important to protect your skin from early aging. Sunscreen, along with a sun hat, and sunglasses will protect you better. Adding a loose-fitting sun blocking shirt will also keep even the fall and winter sun from damaging your skin.
Are you one of the many who take allergy meds every day? I didn’t know that it made a difference in protecting my skin from the sun. Did you? I knew that sometimes I sunburned in record time, even under conditions that I didn’t realize were dangerous.
Then I found out about the medication link, and how different medications can affect how my skin reacts to sun exposure. Even Tylenol or Mortin make a difference!
Please check out this link for more information about the medications that can make a difference for your skin in the sun.
Let’s talk about how clothing fits and how this makes a difference in sun protection.
Do “Normal” Clothes Provide UV Protection?
Your normal clothes can put you at risk of sunburn if they don’t fit properly. The tight jeans thing was mentioned above and this is something I had not considered until I began to think about denim. Denim will last a long time and we tend to wash and wear jeans for years.
So yes, you would need sunscreen in a pair of skin-tight denim jeans However, how much sunscreen will remain on your legs as you wrangle those tight pants on? This will be a difficult chore to keep sunscreen on your legs in this situation. This is true of a swimsuit, or tee shirt that is stretched too tight.
If the fit stretches the fabric of any part of our “normal” clothing, you are going to have spots on your body that will be at risk for sunburn.
Fit is often an overlooked factor in the sunblocking clothing search.
Why Fit Matters For Sun Blocking Clothing
As long as the garment has a loose fit, you will get the most protection that the garment offers. Looser-fitting shirts and pants are better for sun protection.
Tighter-fitting clothing may stretch, reducing the amount of protection that the garment can give. As the fabric stretches the fibers will pull away from each other in the weave pattern. This allows more of the sun’s UV rays to pass through to your skin.
A pair of jeans or pants that are not so tight will do a better job of protecting you from the sun.
The same for your kids, are their tee shirts too short because they are growing? Is the fabric worn from washing and no longer protecting their skin? How much sun protection do you think you get from that old favorite white tee shirt that you have worn for so many years?
Then, are you saying you have no loose-fitting jeans? Then your best bet is not to depend on “normal” clothing to protect you from the sun.
You will need a pair that fits loosely or find pants with the UPF rating to make sure you are protecting your legs.
As long as your normal clothing retains its ability to protect your skin you should be safe from the sun, and not have to wear sunscreen under your clothes. But what about where you are not covered with clothing?
Sunscreen Is Needed Where Your Skin Is Not Covered
Do “normal” clothes provide UV protection? Yes, they can, but you still may need sunscreen.
While there is no need to wear sunscreen under UPF-rated clothing, some of your “normal” clothing may put you at risk. UV radiation can go through “normal” clothing if it is worn, with weak spots that allow the sun through.
While there is no need to wear sunscreen under your UPF long-sleeved sun shirt, you should wear sunscreen when wearing short-sleeved shirts. Apply to all the arm areas not covered.
Even when wearing a sun hat, applying sunscreen protects from early aging damage to your face. Early aging happens when UV rays reflect and get in your face. If there is light, those rays are present, and you should be applying sunscreen to your face.
Your hands are often overlooked and show it quickly. Remember to keep sunscreen on your hands. Many use moisturizing sunscreen for hand cream.
If your neck isn’t covered in the back, sunscreen is needed. Sunscreen for your throat if your shirt doesn’t cover the area. Lips need attention as well.
Otherwise, you should be safe with clothing covering your skin. Wearing clothing is the easiest way to protect your skin. Sunscreen on your face every morning, even when not going outside. Make sure your “normal” clothes are tightly woven, but not so tight fitting.
Simple things you can do to protect your skin. Yes, you can continue to use some, but maybe not all of your “normal” clothing for sun protection. Just remember to layer on some sunscreen where the sun reaches your skin.
Sami’s Take On Why I Wear Sunscreen Under “Normal” Clothing In The Fall And Winter?
Do you think that your “normal” clothing will do a good job of protecting your skin? Or do you think you should add sunscreen?
I have had sunburns that happened under my clothing. And back then all I had was “normal” clothing. Little pinpoints of red where the sun penetrated my shirt. Unfortunately, it was a crewneck tee shirt that had been washed too many times.
Yes, it blistered and peeled just like any sunburn. In the upper chest area, we women have less flesh as we get older, and so the skin shows quickly the places that don’t heal smoothly.
Lessons learned, but that doesn’t change how the sun makes my skin look older than it should.
As I am learning more about how the sun can cause so many problems for our skin, sun protection by just covering the skin is so easy. I am also learning which fabrics are better.
How is your sun protection awareness coming along? Are you more aware? Being more careful of how much sun you are getting on your skin?
Since sun damage is permanent, we should all be more aware. Like lots of things, we need to do what is needed to have, good skin health. This is important.
What tips have you learned about protecting from the sun? Can you share so we can all have a better chance to stay healthy and avoid skin cancer?
Just leave your share in the comment section below,