Q: Is sunburn in China an issue considering all the pollution?
Summer is officially here (for most of us,) and as I have a rather pasty complexion I'm obviously vulnerable. I've been through a few summers here before in Beijing, but have never really had any problems despite it being 35+ outside and with blue-ish skies. I'm guessing the pollution serves as a veil that blocks UV rays? Should pasty-skinned people like me be thankful in a strangely ironic way?
If you go to a place like Shenzen where the weather could be really hot it could be. I stay in the capital and although it can get hot at times it doesn't get to the level of sunburn status.
There is no strict correlation between a thick layer of pollution and not getting sunburned. But it probably does help a bit. Down here in the south, me as a fair skinned northern European can only really be in the sun for 5 minutes before sunburn starts to set in, and we do have the "protective pollution" albeit less than Beijing. I find often, when in a city, it is less of a problem, as moving from A to B means constantly moving in and out of shadow. That being said, I think it is good advice to use sun protection. Even if you don't burn easily, you can still get skin cancer.
I can not delete from my mind the image once I saw, while descending on plane to Shenzhen ... There was sunny nice afternoon above , but there come accidentally once thick layer, maybe 20-50 meters, who knows, which was obviously grey to black color... above was sunny, but under it, no direct sunlight. Once we step out of plane, I was beaten with the very hot and heavy air. I said to myself "Oh, this is real Inferno..."
I come from the UK and now live in Nanning. When I was in the UK after an hour in the sun I would start to darken, here in Nanning I can be out all day and I only darken very slightly. I am fair skinned so I think there is something different here. Is it the amount of humidity in the air that somehow scatters the sun's rays, I don't know but there is a big difference.
I'd say NO, I barely get a sunburn when I was in China,as I wear sun cream every day.
it's funny once my husband and I went to Shenzhen to visit a friend,we went to a park and spent the whole afternoon there. the sun was not strong at all like 22 degree,somehow my husband got sunburned lol but he did not wear sun cream at that time.plus he's kind of guy who's so easy to get a sunburn ,I sometimes make jokes with him about his baby skin,a special care is needed lol