Are You A Window Seater Or An Aisle Seater?
The Frightening Thing That's Happening When You Sit in a Window Seat on a Plane
In a study published in JAMA Dermatology, a few years ago, researchers found out that pilots flying for 56.6 minutes at 30,000 feet receive the same amount of UVA radiation as someone will get from a 20-minute tanning bed session. Apparently, the windshield blocks UVB rays, but not UVA, which penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB and causes skin ageing, wrinkling, and damages skin cells on the basal layer where most skin cancers occur.
I started to read more about this, as I always pick the window seat, and don’t get me wrong dear reader, I don’t do it necessarily for the awesome fluffy clouds I get to see, because…most of the time I don’t see them! Why? Well, the second the flight attendant starts waving their hands to show the emergency exits, I get in a hypnosis kind of state and sleep until the plane lands.
Apparently, when flying above clouds and snow (where there is more light reflected!) the effects are even worse! I am super scared now. Because I always pick the window seat so I don’t get disturb by the other passengers when they want to go to the bathroom.
So while you're probably not flying in the cockpit during a flight and won't have as large an amount of sunlight hitting you from all angles, according to an article in Allure, even when you're sitting in the cabin, the UV rays are much more intense at higher altitudes, and with thinner air, there is less screening of harmful radiation.
Oh no! and I started to read more and perhaps you've seen the viral photo of the truck driver in which the left side of his face had intense photo-damage, wrinkling, and thickening from directly facing the sun for 28 years. That was on the ground—imagine what frequent flyers would experience sitting closer to the sun.
So how can you avoid this from happening in the future? Contrary to what I was thinking and maybe of what you may be thinking as well, booking a window seat is actually ideal. This way, you have the ability to control the shade and keep it down the entire flight. But if you're in the middle or aisle seat, first, make friends with whomever’ s sitting near the window, and then ask them to close it for their own skin health and yours. All kidding aside, make sure to pack a sunscreen in your carry-on to reapply throughout the flight.