The sun produces radiation that takes on the form of electromagnetic rays when it reaches the earth. The visible elements of the spectrum is what causes sunlight but it’s the other spectrums icluding ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) that cause the damage. UVA are can reach further than UVB, penetrate the skin deeper and cause premature aging. There is a lot of old wives tales and misinformation about sun exposure and how to protect yourself from UV rays. 1. On the Ski Mountain As we are in the winter season many of us will have hit the ski slopes, or intend to, but skiers and snowboarders be wary. UVB rates may peak in the middle of summer but the intensity of UVA rays remain damaging all year round, no matter the season or the temperature. These rays can damage your skin but in winter you might not notice until it’s too late. Snow on the ground can reflect up to 80% of UV rays emitted from the sun, this can increase the risk of the skin being damaged and sunburnt. These sports often take place in the mountains at high altitude, which will also increase the UV radiation. It’s important, if you are hitting the slopes or planning any snow based trip, to wear UV protective clothing, sun goggles and apply sunscreen to sensitive spots like nose, neck, ears and chin.2. Through clouds Many people believe that sun ray can’t reach them if the weather is cloudy or raining but you can still be exposed to UV rains, even if you can’t see the sun. 80% of the suns UV rays can penetrate through clouds, it may not seem warm and bright but these rays can still be harmful to the skin. While a shaded sky is a good means of protection from the damaging effects of the UV rays, not all shade protects in the same wat. UVB rays are often considered the most harmful element of the sun because they can reach the skin in an indirect way. Indirect or diffused UV lighting is radiation that has been scattered by the clouds or other factors in the atmosphere, or bounced back from reflective surfaces like concrete, glass buildings or dry sand. The only shade where you can truly rely on being UV free is deep shade; where the sky can’t be seen or some umbrella type object.3. Indoors If you work or sit inside near a window, the chances are you are still getting exposed to UV rays. The sun emits two types of UV rays that can damage the skin; UVB rays which cause sunburn and UVA rays which cause damage and premature aging to the skin. UVB rays are absorbed by glass by 75% of UVA rays can penetrate glass, this type of radiation can cause skin cancer. It’s still worth wearing sunscreen and protective clothing if you are inside and near sunlight, or investing in sun protective shades or blinds to cover the glass.4. In the car Multiple studies have determined that individuals who spend a significant amount of their time driving have an increased risk of skin cancer and UV-induced skin damage, especially on the left side of their body. Windshield glass is constructed with two layers of laminated glass and a plastic layer which will block the UVB and UVA rays. The issues vehicle passengers face are that the side and rear windows are generally made from single pane glass, which is only effective at blocking UVB rays and, much like domestic windows, only block 25% of UVA rays. There are UV protective films which can be added to the windows but it’s still recommended you wear sun protective clothing if travelling for extended periods in a car.5. On the Plane According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency; for every thousand foot increase in elevation, there is roughly a 2% increase in UV radiation. It’s estimated that flying at 30,000 for an hour can be as dangerous as a 20 minute tanning bed session.Airplane windows will protect passengers from UVB rays but cannot fully block UVA rays. During a daytime flight passengers are exposed to considerable UV radiation so it’s essential to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen and keep your blinds down as much as possible.6. When wearing lotion Sunscreen lotions are not fully effective against UVA rays, but using a lotion is better than not being wearing any protection. Topical sunscreens have the ability to block UBVA but are unable to filter UVA, this will leave your skin vulnerable to damage. The SPF rating on a product only indicates UBV protection, not any UVA protection. Even items identified as broad spectrum can be misleading because the amount of UVA protection is not quantified and most sunscreen lotions aren’t effective are blocking UVA rays. A significant amount of FDA approved sunscreen ingredients are not chemically photo-stable, meaning they will break down if exposed to the sun for an extended period of time and can generate free radicals that cause skin damage. Many active sunscreen ingredients can be toxic, they can be absorbed by the skin and if entered into the bloodstream can cause side effects like the disruption of hormones.SPF ratings are determined in a lab with a huge amounts of lotions, much more than an average person would ever use in one go, SPF also presumes the wearer is reapplying the lotion regulary. Choose zinc oxide based sunscreens, they will create physical barrier between your skin and the sunlight. Avoid products containing oxybenzone, octinoxate, homosalata, octisalate and octocrylene.7. The Wrong clothing A recent dermatology study identifies that applying a high SPF sunscreen gives better UV ray protect than using an umbrella to shield from the sun. Umbrellas will leave you too exposed as it doesn’t stop the sunlight reflecting from sand, sea, sidewalk and grass. Baseball hats are prevented to protect the wearers from glare no UV rays. Baseball hats don’t shield the sides of your face, your nose or your lower face. Use a full sun hat made from a tight weave and a three to four inch brim. If you do have a preference of a cap choose a low profile cap and remember to use sunscreen around the ears and at the back of the neck.Many of us will put a white t-shirt to protect sensitive areas from sun whilst on the beach or outside in bright rays but the average SPF of a white shirt will drop from 7 to 3 is the shirt gets wet (from swimming or through sweating). Sunglasses are also incredibly important because exposure to UV light increases the risk of developing cataracts, decreased visions and other serious eye conditions. Even when the eyes perceive it as being a cloudy day, a dim morning sun or winter you are still vulnerable to damage. When buying glasses get a pair that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays or ones that have UV 400.