Why You Need Sunscreen in Winter

Winter Landscape

When it comes to using sunscreen, people generally tend to think it’s only necessary in warmer months, like summer. But in reality, sunscreen is necessary all year long. During the summer days, heat from the sun is more intense, and so people feel that the sun is more damaging. But it may surprise you to find that sun also causes sun burn in months aside from the summer.  So get in the habit of using sunscreen (also known as sunblock) every month of the year.

Outdoors activities during the winter months when you have the additional reflection of the sun off of snow and ice, can be especially dangerous when it comes to sunburn. In addition, some people suffer from skin irritations brought on by the sun. So do yourself a favor and get in the habit of using it all year long to protect your skin from the elements.

In addition to protecting your skin from sun damage that includes burns, a good sunscreen should also moisturize your skin. Protecting your skin from dryness keeps your skin supple and pliable. Make sunscreen/ sunblock a staple in your essential skincare regimen during all seasons.

Protecting your skin throughout the year from the elements, including heat, cold, windburn, and other harsh conditions using a combination of sunscreen and clothing is the best form of protection. This will help keep your skin soft and free from irritation. In some cases, people have gotten more sun damage during winter months simply because the lack of heat gave the false impression that UV rays are not damaging.

So use a good mineral sunscreen, not a chemical one, to provide the safest most comprehensive coverage both for your skin and for the environment. And remember, just because it isn’t hot outside doesn’t mean the sun isn’t just as damaging in the Winter. Stay safe and cover up.

Most dermatologists suggest at least an SPF 30 for thorough protection, and not anything less. SPF30 blocks 97% of harmful UVA and UVB rays from your skin, while still allowing your skin to breathe. Most people misunderstand the SPF rating system and think an SPF60 protects you double than an SPF30, but that is not the case.

3 Points to Pay Attention to Concerning Winter Sun Exposure:

1. Snow and Ice in the Winter Reflect More UVA/ UVB Rays than in the Summer

When you are going to a beach or lake during summer, you think of intensified sunlight reflection, right? During winter, snow and ice can do the same thing. The ice and snow increases the intensity of sun rays similar to what a magnifying glass can do. This in turn, will result in greater sun damage to the skin.

So next time you go skiing, snowboarding, sledding, or just for a walk in the winter, be prepared and apply in advance to protect any exposed areas of skin. Also bring a travel size of 4 oz or less with you in a pocket or your purse for easy re-application. Areas like your face, neck, and hands may get greater exposure to harmful UVA/ UVB rays in the winter.

2. Low Moisture Level and Wind are Bad for Skin

Your skin becomes drier during winter.  For starters during winter the air is less humid, and the winds can be much harsher. During the winter, the combination of dry winds and less moisture in the air can really take a toll on the skin, causing it to lose moisture faster than summer months.

Getting into the habit of applying sunblock daily before going out not only helps restore moisture, it’s one of the best defenses you can adopt into your outdoor lifestyle. At least as far as your skin is concerned. That’s all the more reason a moisturizing sunblock is essential in protecting your body’s largest organ, your skin, in winter.  

3. You Still Can Get Sunburned

UVB rays play a larger role in sunburn and consequentially in skin cancer, than UVA. These rays can cause severe sunburn to your skin if not protected. And don’t think that you can’t receive sunburn through clothing as well. The best defense is to use an all natural SPF30 or higher sunscreen. Nowadays there's some amazing SPF clothing available for athletes that will still be playing outdoors during winter.

Many sun protection factors of more than 30 are usually fine for sedentary people, but not the most comfortable for active people. So don’t be deceived into think cooler or cold weather equates to safe sun, it doesn’t. Contrary to popular belief, the Earth is closer to the sun in the winter months, and further away during the summer. So be safe, and use sun protection all year long.

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