People are used to wearing sunscreen on a scorching-hot day because that's obviously what you should be doing – it's hot outside, you can see the sun, and if you don't wear sunscreen for a day you get sunburn!
What people don't know is that you should be wearing sun screen every day.
Don't take my word for it
Miravue Skin Clinic wrote a report today about the dangers of UV radiation in the UK, saying that even in the winter you should be wearing sunscreen every day!
Considering the UK isn't exactly known for its hot weather you can only imagine how much worse it is for other countries.
The report goes on to say that your skin is damaged all year round by UV radiation, and over time this damage builds up and can lead to skin problems – even cancer – later on in life.
So why don't we?
Human beings, as a species, have a hard time associating future consequences with current behaviour.
This is evident in many of our indulgences:
- Binge drining
- Using fossil fuels
- Buying that cheaper, less reliable boiler
We pay much more attention to the short-term reward of an activity than we do its potential consequences.
In this instance: choosing to get a sweet tan, instead of thinking "If I get sunburnt once in two years it will triple the chance that I will develop skin cancer."
What can we do?
The first step is education.
Most people don't know that you need to wear sunscreen all year round, and that you can get sunburnt during snowy seasons.
Much like the Drink Aware campaigns in the UK, the first task has been to tell people about the risks involved.
The second step is cultural, and this is much, much harder to change.
It is almost ingrained in our society that you don't need to wear sunscreen unless it's sunny.
It will take time, and a lot of effort, for this assumption to change.
So next time you think about going out during the day, slap on some sunscreen. I know I will.