I was about an hour into a recent road trip to Joshua Tree when suddenly the temperature dial on my dashboard began to creep upward, signaling my departure from tree-lined Los Angeles suburbia into outright desert. And as I continued to navigate my car through the dusty landscape, I suddenly felt the oddest sensation on my left arm. It took me a moment to realize it was actually two different sensations: the icy blast of my car's A/C and a sunburn in progress, thanks to the scorching rays streaming through my window.
To be fair, I should have been better prepared—especially as a beauty editor who preaches the importance of sun protection. But believe it or not, I didn't have any SPF on hand; I had been in a rush that morning when I left, and since it was a day trip and I knew I would be spending most of the day indoors, I figured I'd be perfectly fine with my SPF 50–fortified face makeup. Not so: By the time I made it home—even though I had the foresight to don a hoodie on the way back—I was sporting a nasty burn. While my go-to aloe spray helped alleviate the pain, a week later, I still have the uneven tan to show for my misstep.
But then again, is it a misstep if it's something that we never really talk about? I slather on SPF before hitting the slopes in the dead of winter; I know to lather up if I'm going to be spending time outside, even when the forecast calls for the cloudiest of skies. But I've never read or been told that I need to pay mind to the car, or on that note, the office: Coincidentally, as I was perusing Reddit's Skincare Addiction page yesterday, I noticed that someone had asked for advice regarding her sun exposure at work—apparently she sits next to two large windows, and she too is feeling the burn on a daily basis.
I think the takeaway here is that in order to avoid incidental sunburns and general sun damage from such unlikely culprits, there really is no lazing around most experts' recommendation of wearing sunscreen everywhere and every day, no matter what your plans entail. I've certainly learned my lesson—in fact, maybe my mismatched bronze is the perfect reminder.
Do you wear SPF on the daily already? Make sure you're not skipping these oft-ignored spots. And tell us: What's the weirdest way (or weirdest place) you've gotten sunburned?