Why you should always wear sunscreen ON the plane

Smart women wear SPF. And when we’re packing for our holidays, a full bottle of sun cream is going into our suitcase. But if you’ve booked a window seat for the plane journey, you might want to apply some sunscreen before you board (and inevitably end up fast asleep with your face squidged up against the window).

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‘Most planes windows will block UVB rays but the UVA rays penetrate the glass. Unless your airplane blinds are made of metal, which reflects all UV, they won’t completely block out all those rays,’ explains dermatologist Dr Dennis Gross. So while you’re protected from the burning and skin-cancer causing effects of UVB, you may still be exposed to UVA rays, responsible for signs of ageing and hyper-pigmentation.

It’s worth noting that the same applies to car windows. While the front windscreen provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays, the amount of UVA filtered by side and back windows will vary. A long car journey on a sunny day could expose your skin to UVA rays (road trippers beware).

As a rule you should always use a broad spectrum sunscreen (blocking both kinds of rays), but you could also opt for a SPF specifically formulated for the face, meaning you can double up on sun protection and skincare benefits depending on your main concerns.

Dr Dennis Gross’ Dark Spot Sun Defences SPF 50 (£42), will reduce the appearance of existing pigmentation while it protects. For those that find oily, shiny skin an issue, particularly in summer, try La Roche-Posay Anthelios Anti-Shine Matte Fluid SPF 30 (£16.50). Meanwhile Body Shop’s Skin Defence Multi-Protection SPF 50 (£21), has a super light milk-to-water formulation with red algae and Vitamin C to brighten your complexion. They all come in 50-60ml sizes, so are hand-luggage friendly if you want to take them with you on the plane.