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Sunscreen in Seattle?

Posted by Dan Narsete on

"I grew up in Seattle, where there isn't a lot of sun."
-Josie Bissett

Recently we visited Seattle and enjoyed the many great things the city has to offer. Fresh oysters, authentic pho’, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, and yes, even the Space Needle. The lifestyle of Seattle is both laid back, hip, and prospering with new high rises being built all over the city. With a sprawling downtown complete with hills, endless pine trees, modern architecture and shipping ports, it almost feels like Vancouver and San Francisco morphed into one. But with all the great things the city has to offer there lurks a silent killer on the city streets.

It’s cloudy, who cares?

You go outside and surprise! It’s cloudy. Maybe there is a light rain and it’s a little cool outside. No need for sunscreen with clouds, right? Wrong. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, upwards of 80% of UV radiation goes through clouds. The reason is actually very simple. Infrared light (heat) is largely absorbed by water. Clouds are made of tiny ice crystals so absorbing heat makes sense. But they don’t absorb UV light and that’s largely what causes skin damage.

Museum of Pop Culture

Skin cancer rates

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the incidence for skin cancer in Washington state is 25.9 out of 100,000 people! While that seems low, consider a city like Seattle which is at sea level. At this altitude, sun’s rays are more scattered compared to a state like Utah which has the highest incidence of skin cancer (42.3/100,000). However, Salt Lake City sits at an altitude of over 4,200 feet, which means sun rays are much stronger. Comparatively, Seattle has a very high rate of skin cancer per capita.

Starbucks Reserve

People and sunscreen

As a commitment to our customers and readers, we do ongoing research via surveys conducted by our team. To learn more insight for men, women, and skin care preferences, we separately surveyed 250 men and women ages 25-65 on how much they use sunscreen. One would think it would be a regular thing, but only 13% of men used sunscreen everyday and 8% never even use it. What was mind blowing on the gender front was 9.65% of women never wear sunscreen either! Yikes!

Pike Place Fish Market

An easy fix

Truth be told I get it. Sunscreen is a pain. It’s messy and reapplying it every 2 hours? You’ve got to be kidding. It doesn’t have to be that way. We found a sunscreen that is fast, easy, and dry. That’s right, no more oily mess. Colorescience is a company that makes a physical sunblock made of zinc and titanium, called Sunforgettable. It literally takes less than 30 seconds to cover your face and neck. It’s that easy. Seriously, I use it every day and reapply throughout the day. It’s SPF 50 and you can even swim with it on. So, there you go, problem solved. 

Moving forward

Seattle and the Pacific Northwest is an amazing area that we love to visit. But people who go outside, even for a few minutes in cloudy weather (no matter where you are), need to protect themselves. Now you know that 80% of UV rays blow right through clouds. And, you have a quick, effective and easy fix. Take a quick look at our customized skin care quiz (click here to see it) as it can really help. Please enjoy the outdoors and even cloudy days, just be smart about it.


To your health,


Team Reflect

If you live in or know someone in Seattle, or go outside a lot. Please share this article. It can really help:

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