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A woman wearing a knit hat and sweater proudly holds a bottle of sunscreen.

It’s Not Summer – Do I Still Need Sunscreen?

Where I live, summer is over. With my favorite season being fall, I was thrilled when we started getting some cooler weather. Slightly warm days and cool nights are the best. We had been having a stretch of especially nice autumn days, the kind that makes you want to open up all your windows and let the fresh air in.

Sitting outside in the cooler weather

On one of those picture-perfect days, I was getting a few things done inside my house. I heard the mail truck, so I ran outside to grab my mail. While I was outside, I noticed the tree in my front yard had lost a lot of leaves, so I decided to rake the leaves. That didn’t take too long, and with the forecast predicting an end to the unusually nice November weather, I decided to get one more use out of my patio furniture and sit outside for a while and read.

There was a nice breeze and the sun felt warm, although it was not nearly as strong as it is in the summer. I was relaxing, and life felt pretty perfect. And to tell you the truth, sunscreen didn’t even cross my mind. I hadn’t really planned on being outside, after all. My face moisturizer and foundation had sunscreen in them, but I didn’t put on sunscreen anywhere else.

An unexpected sunburn

I sat on my patio reading for around 40 minutes, then decided I needed to get back to work on the list of things I wanted to accomplish that day. Then – uh ho. I noticed not too long after I came back inside that my arms and chest had some color to them. Not a deep sunburn, but I definitely had a bit of a sunburn.

Sunscreen is needed all year round

How did this happen in November? The answer is, you can get a sunburn any time of the year. The sun’s rays can cause burning and skin damage any time of the year - even during the fall and winter months and even on overcast days. And why is it so important to wear sunscreen? Because sun damage can happen faster than you think. I was outside for less than an hour, in November, and I got a sunburn. Even if you are fortunate enough to not get skin cancer from sun exposure, those rays can cause wrinkles, sunspots, and leathery skin.

You’d think that after having skin cancer for over 25 years, I’d know better. I should know better, and I need to do better. Even when I’m excited about the beautiful days during the fall and winter, I need to remember my sunscreen – and not just on my face. And you do the same.

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