The idea of basking in the sun has always been appealing to many people. But nowadays, as people have become more conscious of their health and how their health can be harmed in so many ways, they have started taking extra precautions to protect themselves. You may have started applying sunscreen every time you step out as you may now know that the rays of the sun not only helps your body produce vitamin D but also damages the DNA of your skin cells and causes issues like sunburn and even cancer.1 You may religiously apply sunscreen every time you step out during the hot summer months but may not do so during winter as you may feel that the weak rays of the sun are no threat to your skin.
Do You Need To Apply Sunscreen During Winter?
If your skin is of the less sensitive type, you don’t actually put in much effort to protect your skin from your surrounding environment. Why should you bother much if you are not seeing any visible harm right? But that is not the case all the time. Your skin is prone to damage all the time even if you don’t notice any significant damage right away. Your skin tends to get more and more damaged the more you ignore to take care of it and the more you expose it to the harsh environment without any protection. With that being said, you should know that your skin can get extensively damaged by the sun even during the cold, winter months. Just because the days are colder and shorter, you should not ditch the SPF. Applying sunscreen is a must regardless of what time of the year it is.
Why Should You Apply Sunscreen Even During Winter?
Even when it is not bright and sunny outside during winter, it does not mean they ultraviolet rays of the sun can’t get to you. Depending on where you are, your skin does get more or less UV damage even during winter. You may need more sunscreen when you are on a tropical part of the world sunbathing during December, but if you are bundled up in a cold place with only your eyes exposed, you can get away with a lower SPF. But you will always have to apply sunscreen no matter what. You should keep in mind that most sunscreens work by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering sunlight and these effects can wear off. You will need to reapply the sunscreen every 2 to 4 hours in order to obtain maximum protection from the UV rays.2
What Type Of Sunscreen Should You Invest In?
When you are buying sunscreen you should read the labels very carefully and should invest in a broad spectrum one. A broad spectrum sunscreen provides a sunscreen over the full range of UVA and UVB waves present in the rays of the sun. During the winter months, there is a sizeable drop in the amount of UVB rays that reaches you but the seasonal drop in UVA is much smaller. And UVA can even pass through glass.3 Though UVA does not cause sunburns, it can still damage your skin by causing the formation of thin dark spots.4 You need to be even more careful if it snows in the area you live as UVA can reflect off of the white, snowy surface and reach you through your window.
Since your skin gets very dry during winter, you need to make sure to moisturize it well. You can either apply a good moisturizer on your skin and then apply a layer of sunscreen over it, or you can get a sunscreen that acts as a moisturizer too. It will not only protect your skin from the harsh rays of the sun but will also prevent skin issues like dryness and flaking. You can replace your sunscreen during the summer months as you will not want as much of a moisturizer during that time of the year as your skin will naturally produce more oil then. Also, do check the expiry date before purchasing sunscreen as most sunscreens have a shelf life of no more than 3 years.5
|↑1||D’Orazio, John, Stuart Jarrett, Alexandra Amaro-Ortiz, and Timothy Scott. “UV radiation and the skin.” International journal of molecular sciences 14, no. 6. 2013.|
|↑2, ↑5||Sunscreen. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑3||Duarte, Ida, Anita Rotter, Andrey Malvestiti, and Mariana Silva. “The role of glass as a barrier against the transmission of ultraviolet radiation: an experimental study.” Photodermatology, photoimmunology & photomedicine 25, no. 4. 2009.|
|↑4||Sun and Skin. National Institutes of Health.|