Why Sunscreen is Still Essential in the Winter

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Is your bottle of sunscreen in storage right now? Take it out. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that your skin can take a break from sunscreens. Even if the weather is overcast or slightly cloudy, you should still protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

As you already know, UVA and UVB rays are strong and can cause as much damage to skin in the winter as in the summer. UVA rays, in particular, cause the skin to age significantly, as their radiation penetrates the deeper layers of the skin. Aside from wrinkles, UVA rays increase skin cancer risk. Although there’s a procedure that can detect skin cancer early on, it’s still better to take preventative steps to protect your skin from basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, and/or melanoma.

Why Wear Sunscreen?

While winter layers can provide warmth and coverage, the sun’s rays can still penetrate the exposed parts of your body, such as the hands, neck, and face. In addition to that, the harmful rays can still penetrate your skin through:

  • Snow and Ice

Even though it’s gray and overcast outside, snow and ice can still reflect harmful UVA and UVB rays. You’ll never know when they’ll hit your skin so it’s best to put on sunscreen daily. If you’re going to the slopes to ski or snowboard, make sure to put on sunscreen with a stronger formula to keep windburn at bay.

  • Thin Ozone Layer

The ozone layer is thinner in the cold months, so the exposure of UV rays in the earth’s surface is higher. With the atmosphere’s thin shield, it makes sense to use sun protection that has SPF30 or higher.

How to Keep Your Skin Protected?

Even if it’s cold outside, be sure to slather on sunscreen. Use these tips to keep your skin protected from winter sun damage.

  • Beware of Sweat

You can still sweat even if you’re bundled up, so a one-time application is not enough. Reapply a moisturizer with SPF protection throughout the day to give you maximum coverage.

  • Eat Nutritious Food

A healthy diet can add an extra layer of skin protection from the sun’s rays. Fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants will help your body fight free radicals and sun damage.

  • Use the Right Sunscreen

Choose a product that offers a broad spectrum of coverage. In other words, select a product that contains both UVA and UVB blockers for total protection.

Prevention is better than cure, so don’t wait before skin damage becomes a problem. Protect your skin even if it’s winter, and you’ll thank yourself in later years. For more tips about skin protection, consult board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Seth Matarasso.