A smiling Asian woman under the sun

Slathering sunscreen on your face but not on your neck? That’s a travesty you might just end up paying for in the long run. UV light or ultraviolet radiation is everywhere, even on cloudy days. Some types of UV light can even pass through glass windows. It doesn’t just affect your face — it affects all areas of skin that are not covered by opaque clothing. Luckily, protecting your skin from UV light is easy.

What is UV Light and Where Does it Come From?

Know the difference between UVA and UVB rays.

The sun and other artificial sources, such as tanning lights and specialized lights, emit a kind of electromagnetic radiation called UV light. UVA, UVB, and UVC are the three types of UV light. Each of them reaches the Earth’s surface in varying amounts. The ozone layer completely absorbs UVC, which makes it a non-issue. However, according to Cancer.org, UVA rays make up 95% of the UV light from the sun that reaches the ground; the remaining 5% are UVB rays.

What’s More Harmful, UVA or UVB?

The US Environmental Protection Agency states that UVA rays not only cause skin aging and eye damage, but they also decrease the body’s ability to fight off illnesses. UVA rays also contribute to the risk of skin cancer as UVB rays cause sunburns, skin cancer, skin aging, and sun blindness.

UVB radiation is most harmful between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you think you’re safe indoors, think again. The International Ultraviolet Association says that standard window glass blocks 100% of UVB rays but allows some UVA rays to pass through. The Skin Cancer Foundation states that windshield glass in automobiles is treated to block UVA rays, but side and rear windows are not. The risk factor goes up at high altitudes and the closer you are to the equator.

Can Clothing Protect You from UV Light?

While some types of clothing can offer enough protection, it’s best to apply SPF on exposed areas.

UV light affects all exposed areas of the skin. Clothing offers some level of protection from harmful sun rays when you’re out. Generally, the more covered you are, the more protection you get. Choose dark colors and dry, tightly woven fabrics. If you can see the light through the fabric, you can bet UV rays can get through. Some brands produce UV-safe clothes. The higher the UV Protection Factor (UPF) — which usually ranges from 15 to 50 — the higher the protection from UV rays. 

Sunscreen is Your Best Defense

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends wearing at least SPF 15 sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Use it daily and re-apply every two hours.

Meanwhile, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using two milligrams of sunscreen per centimeter of skin. That’s about the size of a 25-centavo coin for the face, and a whole shot glass for the exposed areas of the body. So, no, you don’t just apply sunscreen on the bridge of your nose. However, if you can avoid being under the sun, please do. Sunscreen merely filters UV light — it does not block all of it. 

To protect the skin on your face while keeping it moisturized, add POND’S Sun Protection Day Cream, which contains SPF 30, to your skincare routine. Use it as the last step right after cleansing and toning.

For daily protection for the body, use Vaseline Healthy Bright SPF 24 UVA and UVB Protection PA++. The skin quickly absorbs its lightweight, water-based formula, which offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Vaseline recommends applying 3 to 4 pumps of lotion for the whole body. 

If you’re staying indoors anyway, give yourself a radiance boost. For intense skin brightening and UV protection, try Vaseline Healthy Bright UV Extra Brightening Body Lotion, which has 10x active niacinamide and Vaseline Jelly to protect skin while brightening it. Use it consistent to get more radiant skin in three weeks. 

Protect your skin from UV light by staying in the shade, covering up when you’re about to be exposed to the sun, and wearing lots of sunscreens.