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The Link Between Sunscreen and Climate Change

Summer is here, finally. And while sunscreen should be a daily routine all year round, it’s super important to remind everyone to wear it systematically. Here’s why: I recently learned that climate change is unquestionably exposing us to more UV light than ever before, putting us at a higher risk for skin cancer and making proper sunscreen applications more important than ever before. Neutrogena’s Sun Summit gathered together top dermatologists and Drew Shindell, Ph.D, an ozone and climate specialist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, to talk this out. What I learned was shocking…

1. The sun is burning brighter than ever before. I never really thought of the sun as changing in the amount of light it emits, but it does. New studies show that it’s hotter than it’s ever been before, thus putting out more UV light.

2.  A thinning ozone layer can be directly correlated to a higher risk of skin cancer. If you lost about 20% of the ozone layer where you live (that’s the average loss shown, but it really varies across the globe) you get about 33% more UV exposure. And note that the problem isn’t just that the ozone is thinning, but that the sun is burning brighter, so more UV rays are slicing through the atmosphere and zapping us.

3. Climate change has made our seasons last longer, there’s we’re spending more time outside. A hotter planet means a longer spring, summer and fall, as well as a shorter winter. This means there’s more fun to be had outside, but it also means that we’re being exposed to more UV light than in years past.

What does this all up to? It’s like the perfect storm for skin cancer. The stars have aligned—literally—to increase your risk of getting sick. So, PLEASE, be careful. Now read, HOW TO APPLY SUNSCREEN SO IT ACTUALLY WORKS and HOW TO APPLY SUNSCREEN TO YOUR KIDS.

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