Now that Summer is a distant memory, so you’re off the hook about the whole sunscreen thing, right? Not so much. Your skin actually needs sun protection all year-round in order to prevent skin damage and reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. If you’re not already wearing sunscreen every day, it’s time to make sunscreen your best friend again.

You might think skin cancer can only happen to you if you use tanning beds or get frequent sunburns, but that’s not the case. Skin cancer occurs far more frequently than many people realise, and all sun exposure affects your risk. The sun doesn’t care if the air is chilly, the sky is cloudy, or if you’re drinking a pumpkin latte. Its rays damage your skin just the same.

To enjoy the autumn weather safely, cover exposed areas with a good sunscreen. Here are reasons why it’s important to wear sunscreen once the weather turns colder:

Cooler weather barely impacts UV rays

UVB rays (the kind that cause sunburn) are slightly less intense during non-summer months, but UVA rays (the kind that cause cancer) stay strong all year. You may be wearing a long sleeve shirt and pants, but the face, neck and hands remain exposed, just where most skin cancers occur.

Clouds do NOT block all UVB rays

About 80% of UVB rays penetrate clouds and fog. Just because the sun is hiding behind an overcast sky doesn’t mean you’re protected. Clouds do block infrared rays, so you don’t feel hot, but your skin is getting hit.

Windows DO NOT block UVA rays

UVA (skin cancer) rays travel through most house and car windows. In fact, over 53% of skin cancer cases are on the right arm or the right hand side of the face because of those rays penetrating car windows. When we sit by a window with a good book and cup of tea on a bright winter day, our skin is fully exposed.

Drier weather means drier skin

Cold air dries skin. To keep skin hydrated, choose mineral based sunscreens with coconut oil or olive oil and make sure to keep lip balm with beeswax and shea butter handy.

Skin cancer rates continue to increase every year. To keep you and your family safe in the sun year round, choose a good 30 SPF physical sunscreen, and use it daily on any exposed skin.