We all know that we should be wearing sunscreen when we’re in hot and sunny destinations. But did you know that you should be applying an SPF30 before you’ve even taken off for your holiday?
Dermatologists advise that we all wear SPF30 on a daily basis to prevent the signs of aging as well as skin cancer. But it turns out, it’s no different when you’re on board a plane. Though the windows on a plane are small, it’s very bright when you’re flying.
Dr. Sweta Rai of the British Association of Dermatologists tells Sun Online Travel: “Pilots are at higher risk of skin cancer and sun-induced damage as they sit in bright light.”
“The windows they sit at when piloting the plane are huge and as a result, they wear sunscreen as standard. But passengers on flights should take heed and do the same. The window next to you on a plane may be small, but you’re closer to the ozone layer on a flight by tens of thousands of feet.”
“The sun’s rays are much more harmful at this level and we should all be wearing sunscreen when flying.”
If you use a daily moisturizer with an SPF of 30 or more in it, then you don’t need to worry. But even if you do, Rai recommends that you reapply it every two hours — especially on long-haul flights.
She recommends that passengers choose a sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection and a five-star rating.
Rai says: “You need to put it on so it’s covering a thin film over your body on all exposed sites an hour before you fly. You want a thin film on your face, neck, chest — whatever is exposed.
“The clothes you wear don’t always give you full sun protection.”
You can use sunscreen instead of your normal moisturizer, or over it, depending on what you prefer.
Everything you’ve always been told about wearing makeup on flights is probably wrong too — as Rai reveals it can actually help to protect your skin.
She says: “Makeup in itself can give you some protection. But it won’t give you as much protection as a full SPF30 of course — unless you use an SPF30 foundation.”
However, it can clog pores, depending on your skin type so it may be best to remove makeup and use a sunscreen instead when flying. Rai also recommends wearing sunglasses on a long haul flight — which pilots do — to save the strain on your eyes.
Once you’ve safely arrived at your destination, Rai stresses the importance of reapplying sunscreen every two hours. She says: “People complain that they have burned even with sunscreen on. If you’re not reapplying it every two hours, this will happen.
“And if you’ve been in the water, you need to reapply every 40 minutes.”
One last piece of advice? Beware the trusty parasol as you can burn through these too.
Rai says: “If it has gaping holes or is made from straw then you’re going to be exposed to the sun. Pick a beach umbrella that’s going to give you full protection.”