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How UV Rays Can Damage Skin - Tips For Every Season

by Valeria Cole |

Skin protection from the sun and its harmful UV rays is one of the most important steps you can take to both prevent painful and potentially cancer-causing sunburns as well as the early signs of aging. But how do UV rays affect the skin and how can you best protect your skin from UV rays throughout the year?

Beyond The Burn: How UV Rays Affect Skin

According to the American Cancer Society, “Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a major risk factor for most skin cancers.” Since sunlight is the primary source of these harmful UV rays, repeated exposure without protection can increase your risk.

Exposure to UV rays causes damage to the DNA of your skin cells. The short term effects may be sunburn or tanned skin, which are indications of the damage. Long-term effects can be wrinkles, age spots or dark patches, loss of elasticity and other signs of aging, as well as skin cancer. 

two women tanning on a beach

How long does it take for the sun to damage your skin?

It’s hard to say exactly how long it takes for sun to damage your skin, since it depends on a variety of variables. If you live in an area with bright sunlight year-round (such as at the equator), you’ll have a higher risk of developing skin cancer. The same goes for people who spend lots of time outside without wearing sunscreen or protective clothing. 

What time of day are UV rays strongest?

UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., but especially between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. UV rays are also stronger at higher altitudes, where more rays are able to reach. To help people calculate the strength of UV rays on a given day, the National Weather Service and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have developed a UV Index. Click here to check it out.

Can you get UV rays in the shade?

Cloud cover and shade can sometimes block some UV and reduce your exposure, but other types of clouds actually reflect UV rays (as can surfaces like snow, water, sand, pavement and grass) and increase the exposure and risk. If the sun is up, you should expect UV rays to be present and use sunscreen - even on cloudy and rainy days. 

Are UV rays stronger in the summer?

Yes. UV rays in winter compared to summer are usually not as strong, since the sun is farther away during the winter months. However, if you are located near the equator, your risk is consistently higher throughout the year. UV exposure decreases the further you get away from the equator.

woman with large hat applying sunscreen

Are there less UV rays in winter? Or is the sun stronger in the winter?

Generally, the sun is not as strong in the winter and there are fewer UV rays to worry about, unless you’re located at or near the equator, where UV exposure is consistently high. 

Preventing UV Risks for Skin During Summer

During the summertime when UV rays are at their strongest, follow these tips for preventing skin damage: 

  • Wear protective clothing - linen and cotton are lightweight and breathable 
  • Wear sunglasses such as polarized ones that block 99% of UV rays
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim
  • Apply “broad-spectrum” sunscreen of SPF 30 or above - be sure to re-apply every couple of hours and after swimming or sweating a lot
    • Increase the absorption and effectiveness of your sunscreen by applying buriti oil together or right after your sunscreen
  • Try to stay in the shade as much as possible to avoid direct sunlight

woman and child walking in sunny forestPreventing UV Risks for Skin During Fall

As the sun moves further away and the weather becomes colder, it’s important to remember that UV rays and their risks for skin damage remain - even on cloudy or rainy days. Follow these tips for preventing skin damage during the fall:

  • Apply “broad-spectrum” sunscreen of SPF 30 or above, and reapply every 2 hours that you are outside
  • Wear protective sunglasses
  • Avoid sun lamps and tanning beds

Preventing UV Risks for Skin During Winter

UV risks for skin are still very high in winter, especially for skiers and snowboarders. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “higher altitude means increased risk of sun-induced skin damage, since UV radiation exposure increases 4 to 5 percent with every 1,000 feet above sea level.”

  • About 30 minutes before hitting the slopes, liberally apply “broad-spectrum” sunscreen of SPF 30 or above to exposed skin, especially if you are out in the snow where UV rays can be reflected - don’t forget your ears and the back of your neck!
  • Use a lip balm with SPF 15 or higher
  • Try to avoid skiing between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest
  • Wear sunglasses or goggles that block at least 99% of UV rays to protect your eyes
  • Avoid sun lamps and tanning beds

Preventing UV Risks for Skin During Spring

UV rays start to get stronger as the weather warms up for spring, so follow these tips to protect your skin and prevent damage during the springtime:

  • Apply “broad-spectrum” sunscreen of SPF 30 or above - be sure to apply it liberally to exposed skin, and re-apply every couple of hours
  • Wear sunglasses such as polarized ones that block 99% of UV rays
  • Avoid being outside (or limit your exposure) after 10 a.m. and before 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest
  • Avoid sun lamps and tanning beds

Our 100% pure Raw Buriti Sun Oil, Rich in Oleic Fatty Acids and Carotenoids, especially Pro Vitamin A, it’s your perfect pre and post sun care companion, it’s also a potent moisturizer and helps to increase skins elasticity. Add a couple of drops to your sunscreen to increase its absorbance and protection by 3x, while moisturizing and improving your skin’s elasticity. Apply post sun exposure for anti-oxidant protection and water loss prevention.

Its beautiful, natural, reddish tone, also gives you a nice sun kissed tint.

Check out the clinical results:

buriti oil clinical results chart


Love yourself, find your joy, share your passion. 

Cheers, Val

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