Sunscreen in the Winter?
The question often asked when it begins to get colder out: Do you REALLY have to wear sunscreen every day in the winter? Well, the sun doesn’t magically disappear after summer ends, so we can confidently say that you need to wear SPF every day, no matter what time of the year it is! Let’s break down why!
SPF & WHY WE WANT TO AVOID UV RAYS
We wear sunscreen to protect our skin from UV damage, which breaks down collagen levels, causes sun damage and uneven skin tone, and wrinkles. UV damage can also cause skin cancer, which is a leading cause of cancer in the U.S.
WE ARE EXPOSED TO UV RAYS YEAR ROUND
In the winter, it can seem as if we are not being exposed to UV rays since we are not basking in the sun or laying on a beach, but in reality, we are still being exposed to them in our daily lives, just in smaller increments. While driving in our cars, UV rays come through our windows, causing damage to our skin. UV rays can also shine through the windows in our homes while we are watching TV, reading, or working. If you go on a walk outside or you’re involved in winter sports, being outside still exposes you to UV rays regardless of the time of year. Yes, rays are stronger during the hotter, summer months, but cumulative exposure is what causes most aging and damage in the long run for people. All of these small exposures throughout the day add up really quickly, causing skin issues and putting us at risk for cancer.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF DURING THE WINTER
Just like during the summer (and ANY other time of the year!), you will want to apply sunscreen to your face, neck and hands every morning. After moisturizing, this will be your final step before applying make-up, if you wear it.
It is also important to wear extra sunscreen if you are participating in outdoor activities such as skiing, snowboarding, or sledding, as the white snow is reflective and can actually make the effects of the rays stronger. Wind burn plus a sunburn on a mountain sounds like an awful combo, doesn’t it? And don’t forget to protect your lips! Wear a good chapstick and even consider a lip protectant that has SPF in it as your lips are already prone to being more dry when outside during the winter.
- Choose to wear mineral sunscreen as it is more protective, less irritating, and more hydrating than chemical sunscreen (mineral SPF = zinc oxide and titanium dioxide). Always opt for SPF of at least 15.
- Seek shade or indoors if you are outside in the sun and elements for long periods. The sun is still affecting your barrier even if it isn’t hot out.
- Protect your lips! Wear a hydrating balm and also look for an SPF lip product to apply when outdoors for long periods of time.
- Wear proper sun and body protection to protect your skin from the cold and from sun damage.
It might seem like you don’t need to protect your skin during the winter months, but in reality, you need to take care of it and protect your skin from UV damage just like any other time of year! You will notice that the results pay off when your skin is healthy, even and glowing come spring time.