Winter Sun Protection
Sunscreen in the winter, really? You may think that you can take a break applying sunscreen during the shorter and colder days of winter—but believe it or not—the damage the sun’s rays can cause does not diminish just because it’s winter.
Why? Because harmful UV rays that are present at any time of the year filter through the cloud cover and harm unprotected skin. Sun protection when ice-skating or out on the ski slopes is just as vital as when you spend a day next to the pool or on the beach.
Reasons to Wear Winter Sunscreens
It’s so easy to think that because the sun is behind the clouds or because it’s winter, your risk of sun exposure lessens—nothing could be further from the truth. While it’s true that it’s colder because the Northern Hemisphere points away from the sun’s rays, you still experience exposure to UV radiation, and you still need to use sunscreen for sun protection.
And, there are a few other winter risk factors to consider; if you are outside in a snowy environment, the snow (and ice) can reflect up to 80% of the sun's rays, meaning you can get a double-dose of harmful UV exposure. You’ll be at higher altitudes where the air is thinner and risk even more UV exposure if you are skiing. For more tips on caring for skin in the colder months of the winter, check out our article on winter skincare.
Clouds do help block some of the sun’s rays, but they don’t stop them all—it’s still possible to get a sunburn on a cloudy day. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 80% of all UV rays filter through clouds and that’s more than enough reason to apply sunscreen every single day.
So, now that you know that sun exposure risks differ little from season to season, what is your best defense to protect your precious skin from UV rays?
In a word—sunscreen—and the best sunscreens are from quality skincare brands. This type of skincare differs from OTC skincare because these products have gone through rigorous testing and are FDA approved.
Protecting your skin with the best quality sunscreen and following healthy sun care habits are your best defense against sun damage.
Healthy Habits for Adequate Sun Protection
What are the healthy habits that provide adequate protection from the sun?
- Wear a quality sunscreen with an SPF of 30 every day to block damaging UV rays.
- Use a 30 SPF lip balm.
- Wear hats and sunglasses to shield your face and eyes from the sun.
- Be careful of your exposure between 10 am and 2 pm when the sun’s rays are at their strongest.
- Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours or after sweating or after swimming. Pay extra attention to the areas like your ears, forehead, and the tops of your hands.
Keep in mind that these recommendations are for all skin tones. While people with lighter skin tones are more likely to experience UV damage due to their lack of melanin, people with darker skin tones are also be affected and should use protection.
Following these guidelines is important, especially when you consider that many winter outdoor activities amplify the power of the sun’s rays.
What are the Best Winter Sunscreens?
Here are sunscreens to consider for the best winter protection.
SUZANOBAGIMD Physical Defense Tinted Broad Spectrum is an excellent choice for your face with an SPF of 50, and offers strong UVA and UVB protection. This formula is lightly tinted with antioxidants to protect and nourish your skin, and easily blends into multiple skin tones.
A new entry, EltaMD UV Sheer Broad-Spectrum SPF 50+ is a lightweight, hydrating sunscreen formulated for all skin tones. Designed to go on smoothly and be absorbed quickly so your face isn’t shiny, nor does it leave a white cast that can be typical of some face sunscreens.
Available in Translucent, PerfecTint Beige, and PerfecTint Bronze, iS Clinical Extreme Protect SPF 40 PerfectTint Bronze is a botanically based formula that protects, hydrates, and softens skin.
Don’t forget to protect your lips. EltaMD UV Lip Balm Broad-Spectrum SPF 36 is specifically designed to protect your lips from sun damage. Also, hydrate, soothe and heal chapped lips with this product.
Make a Year-Round Commitment to Protect Your Skin
We’ve always known that we need protection from the sun’s rays in the summer. It is also true that ultraviolet light from the sun is just as intense on overcast days, and in the winter. This is why we need to be extra careful about applying sunscreen every day, no matter the season. Think about using sunscreen as your year-round commitment to protect your skin for a healthy and youthful look. Protect the skin you're in.