British Airways A380 First Class Remote Controlled Window Shades

Why You Should Wear Sunscreen on a Plane
Ever since I found out I had a squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancer) on my lip, I’ve completely changed the way I spend time in the sun. I no longer play volleyball or hang out with my friends on the beach during peak hours unless I’m completely covered and/or under an umbrella. I put on sunscreen every morning before I go outside. And recently, I read this article in Condé Nast Traveler, which pointed out that “a recent study in JAMA Dermatology found just one hour at 30,000 feet could expose pilots to the same amount of UV radiation as a 20-minute tanning bed session would. But as a passenger, you’re up against a smaller window and far less cumulative exposure. Still, over time, hours in the sun (yes, even by a window) add up, increasing your risk of skin cancer.”

One dermatologist suggests pulling down the shades in the airplane when it’s sunny and another suggests doing so regardless of the weather (cloud cover and snow can reflect UV rays). That same doctor also suggests using a broad-spectrum 30-SPF lotion, which protects against UVA and UVB rays. And don’t forget to reapply a marble-sized amount to your face every two hours and don’t forget often overlooked areas like the back of your hands, forearms and ears.

The most important thing is to be aware, because the consequences of sun exposure can be very serious. For more, see the article.



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7 Comments On "Travel Tip of the Day: Why You Should Wear Sunscreen on a Plane"
  1. Laura|


    I just read an actical about sun screen….when exposed to the sun, your risk for skin cancer is HIGHER when you apply sunscreen!!!


    From: EWG environmental working group…why because 75% of sunscreens contain toxic chemicals ….can increase cancer and other health issues

    Laura =.)

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Nancy Reid|

    I never would have thought about this. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Kiera Reilly|

    I could not like this post more! I read about UV exposure on a plane, and now I always apply my usual facial sunscreen while flying. I have skin cancer in my family, and with fair skin, I am always covering up and limit my outdoor activities to after peak sun hours. One caveat though – make sure you take a Vitamin D supplement. I had some terrible colds last year and one doctor suggested I might be Vitamin D deficient, which weakens the immune system. Since I was so diligent about being completely covered whenever I went outside, it made sense to me.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Good advice!

  4. BIO|

    Great advice, sun protection is so important but easy to overlook. Especially in places we might not think about it. UV rays penetrate glass so planes are one of those unexpected places. Driving is too, potential for a ton of sun exposure while driving a car.

  5. Vanessa|

    Interesting fact! I had always wondered how possible it was to get tanned/burned through a window. I must say, sometimes when the sun is beaming through those airplane windows it can feel quite hot, which is sometimes actually quite nice because plane cabins are so cold! But great tip about the sunscreen.

  6. Steve|

    Good advice Johnny. Sun penetrates glass on the ground or in the air.

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