There are definitely upsides to having a science-nerd guy for a husband. There I was, meticulously applying sunscreen to my face in the middle of winter, just like I was always told to. My husband asked what I was doing, and said something like: this doesn´t make sense, the UV radiation is extremely weak in the winter. You should research that.
So I research it I did, and was very surprised at the findings. In Germany the levels of UV radiation over the year look like this:
|Herbst = autumn, Frühling = spring; Zeit = time; Hautwirksame Strahlung = radiation that affects the skin|
The difference between the summer and the winter are extreme. The UV levels of at noon in the winter are similar to those of early mornings in the summer! Also, winter means 8 hours of daylight as opposed to 16 in the summer. Note the levels of UV radiation in the mornings and evenings as opposed to the middle of the day.
If you live much closer to the equator the results might be very different, so you should totally take your geographical location into account when reading this post. On the TEMIS site you can see the UV index for today, the past, and even UV radiation forecasts.
This was in the winter of 2005. Notice how "dark" northern Europe, Asia and Canada are.
This was a few days ago:
Elevation also plays role, if you live at a higher altitude you are getting more UV radiation.
So why is everyone telling me to wear sunscreen all the time? Either most of the info I´ve been reading comes from the south of the US and Australia; or the sunscreen companies want to sell more of their products. Probably both.
This graph made me realise that I must focus on always wearing sunscreen when I´m going out during the day in the summer, and that I can let the winter, early morning and late afternoon slip. This way I will get the biggest bang for my efforts.
How about you? How much UV radiation does your area get, and how dilligent are you with wearing suncreen?