Here’s Why You Should Be Wearing Sunscreen In Winter
5 minutes read
You’d better believe it… We need to use winter sunscreen for the face as often as we apply SPF in summer. Beauty Daily gives us the lowdown.
Yes, it’s true: you need to slather on SPF, even on cloudy days! Why is sunscreen important? The reason is twofold – firstly, those harsh UV rays are there even when the sun isn’t shining. Also, SPF protects your face from ageing. So, don’t even think about missing this important step in your morning skincare routine.
UV Can Still Affect You in Winter
Experts say the overall amount of UV rays decreases slightly in the winter because of the angle that the sun’s rays hit the earth. However, people exposed to the winter sun are still at risk of getting a sunburn.
Charlotte McHale, Clarins Training Manager. “However, UVA rays, which cause skin damage and premature skin ageing, remain relatively constant year-round. So you need to use a sun care product that will protect you from UVA rays all year round. UV Plus, £34 protects the skin from UVA and UVB rays and limits the effects of premature ageing caused by sun exposure, whatever the weather.”
Read our guide about Daily SPF For Your Face.
Why winter sunscreen is so essential for the face
Next time you think about skipping your sunscreen on a cloudy day, remember:
- The ozone layer is thinner in winter. That means it absorbs less UV rays, so your skin is more susceptible to UV exposure.
- Premature ageing and the risk of cancer don’t change with the weather. You are at risk of both whether the sun is shining or not.
- The cold and the wind make your skin dry – and if you don’t moisturise, this causes wrinkles, a major sign of skin ageing.
- Believe it or not, sunscreen wears off faster in the cold months. Of course, sweating and swimming are the culprits in summer, but dry skin and wintry weather means you must reapply sunscreen often.
- You’re sitting inside with the lights on, so why apply sunscreen? Some lights emit UV rays (we’re talking ambient, infrared and blue lights).
Yes, you can get burnt by the sun in winter! Sun reflecting off the snow is one of the significant causes of sunburn – so apply a high SPF sunscreen and reapply often. The best sunscreen to use? A broad-spectrum, long-lasting one that will protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Make sure it is water-resistant and SPF30 or higher. Apply 20 minutes before you head outdoors and every two hours after that.
Benefits of wearing sunscreen in winter
Medical experts and dermatologists emphasise the importance of wearing sunscreen every single day of the year. “Even on cloudy days, as up to 80% of the sun’s harmful UV rays can penetrate your skin,” says The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
Why is daily sunscreen important?
Studies show that it significantly lowers the signs of skin ageing, including wrinkles, dark spots and hyperpigmentation as well as the risks of skin cancer. A ground-breaking study revealed that people who use broad-spectrum sunscreen daily experience 24% less skin ageing than those who use sunscreen intermittently. The Skin Cancer Foundation mentioned another study showing how daily sunscreen significantly slowed skin ageing.
How much sunscreen is enough?
Medical experts believe one should reapply sunscreen every two hours when in the sun – no matter the season. If you’re working indoors and don’t sit near a window, reapply less often. But when you go outside, make sure to apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes beforehand.
“I throw the Mineral Sun Care Compact, £31 in my tote when on the go – I can do SPF touch-ups throughout the day and it doesn’t ruin the rest of my make-up.” – Sarah Joan Ross, Editor
Why you should wear winter sunscreen daily
Health experts explain UVB, despite being more prominent during summer, can still burn and damage your skin year round, most especially at high altitudes and on reflective surfaces such as snow or ice.
Data shows, snow reflects up to 80% of the sun’s UV light, so the rays hit you twice, increasing your risk of skin cancer and premature ageing. UVA rays remain constant throughout the year and can penetrate through clouds and fog.
The idea that you only need to wear sunscreen when the sun is out or in summer is a big myth. Experts advise wearing SPF daily, regardless of the weather.
What About SPF?
The Skin Cancer Foundation explains how much protection you’re getting. “Your skin will take 30 times longer to burn than if you weren’t wearing any sunscreen at all”.
You have to remember that no sunscreen blocks all UVB rays. The rules are:
- SPF15 filter out 94% of UVB rays
- SPF30 shields up to 97% of of UVB rays
- SPF50 blocks 98% of UVB rays
- A higher SPF may offer the skin more protection, but it still needs to be reapplied as often as a sunscreen with a lower SPF
Best SPF for Winter
How to choose sunscreen? Take the following factors into account:
Choose one that works for your skin type based on your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.
If you have pale skin, you will need Very High Protection SPF50+ sunscreen for your face. If your skin tans easily, or you have olive or dark skin, choose High Protection SPF30.
- Choose which texture you prefer – cream in SPF30 or SPF50+, gel in SPF30 or a sun stick in SPF50.
- Make face sunscreen part of your daily skincare routine year-round.
- Apply every day after skincare products and before make-up. The SOS Primer UV also boosts radiance and prolongs make-up wear while providing an SPF 30.
Which winter sunscreen for the face is best for you?
Beauty Daily recommends the following:
- Oily, combination and blemish-prone skin: Non-comedogenic sunscreens- Dry Touch Sun Facial Sun Care UVA/UVB 30 for Face (SPF30) or the product with UVA/UVB 50+.
- Oily skin: Invisible Gel-to-Oil Facial Sun Care UVA/UVB 30