The Alarming Reason You Should Always Bring Sunscreen On Your Flight

The “window seat vs. aisle seat” debate may never be settled, but aisle seaters have one unexpected fact in their corner: avoiding that plane window could actually keep you looking younger for longer.

The reason? Sitting on an airplane exposes your skin to stronger UVA and UVB rays than you’d find on the ground. That means you’re at risk of damaging your skin and even getting a sunburn while technically “indoors.”

In fact, flying at an elevation of 30,000 feet will leave you with the same amount of sun damage that you’d get from a 20-minute session in a tanning bed.

This kind of exposure can lead to everything from redness and irritation to long-term skin damage like wrinkles and age spots, as well as an increased risk of skin cancer.

For this reason, dermatologists recommend applying sunscreen at least 30 minutes before you take off and reapplying it consistently throughout your flight.

What about the SPF in your makeup? Experts say that though even a bit of sun protection power is better than none, the SPF in your foundation or powder alone is not sufficient to protect your skin from UV rays found at high altitudes.

They recommend flying with no makeup and slathering on a generous layer of sunscreen for every two hours you’re in the air, or using a dedicated sunscreen spray or powder with at least SPF 50 over your makeup. If you opt for the sunscreen powder, you won’t have to worry about eating into your carry-on liquid allowance.

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