By now everyone knows that sunscreen is an essential part of your skincare routine in the summer. When you are outside on a hot summer day it’s easy to understand why—you can feel those UV rays penetrating and burning your skin within minutes. But it can be harder to remember that you still need to protect your skin from UV rays in a colder climate during the winter months.
There are several reasons people forget sunscreen in the winter. For starters, you probably are wearing clothing that covers most of your skin’s surface. You also won’t always feel your skin getting warm because the air outside is cold. The sun is farther in the southern sky, which means its rays might not feel as potent as they do in the summer months, and there are fewer hours of daylight so the “peak” sunlight hours are shorter in winter.
The skin on your face is often the only part of your body exposed to the sun in winter. Using skincare products with built-in SPF can help you stay protected.
If you’ve ever skipped sunscreen on a cloudy summer day, you probably learned your lesson. Just because you don’t see the sun doesn’t mean those ultraviolet (UV) rays aren’t getting through. There are actually two types of UV rays:
UVA rays are better at penetrating clouds, which means even on a cloudy winter day you can still be at risk.
UVB rays are more likely to reflect off the surface of the snow when you’re outside participating in winter sports, like skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. SPF sunscreen provides extra protection on your face, neck, and arms (if they’re exposed) to prevent sunburn.
You might think that staying inside in the winter is a great way to protect against sun damage, but it’s not a foolproof plan. UV rays can still penetrate glass, which means if you ride a bus, drive in a car, or sit near a window in your office during the day, you might be exposed to ultraviolet rays. Fortunately glass does block UVB rays well, but it doesn’t block UVA rays as well. Additionally, some research shows that blue light from screens could harm your skin. SPF sunscreen can protect your skin in both cases.
The ozone layer—part of the stratosphere between 10 and 20 miles above the Earth’s surface—absorbs UV radiation from the sun, specifically harmful UVB rays that can increase the risk of skin cancer. The concentration of ozone molecules is lower in the winter months, which means there is less protection from those harmful rays. SPF products that protect against both UVA and UVB rays are essential to prevent excess skin damage in winter, and reduce your risk of skin cancers.
Learn more about protecting your skin and discover how to keep your face healthy, even in winter, by talking to our skincare experts at Skintherapy.
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