Is Sunscreen Necessary in the Winter Months?

By: Diana Augustoni

Often I ask clients about their sun protection use in the winter and many report that they opt to not use their sunscreen.  As a therapist I am always concerned as to why clients choose to not apply in winter.  It is very important to use sunscreen year round and I want to take the time to explain the simple reasons why.

We are constantly exposed to harmful sun rays and our face and hands are especially vulnerable at this time of year. We need protection of both UVA (ultraviolet A) light and UVB (ultraviolet B) light year round.  UVB rays are commonly known as the sunburn rays.  UVA rays are responsible for photo aging in the skin and for causing skin cancers.  Although we can all see the importance for protection in the sun, why is it just as important in the winter?  In the winter months the sun is actually closer to the earth causing those rays to be just as harmful.  Even indoors you can be absorbing harmful rays through the windows.  If you drive, you will get these rays through your windshield and side window.  If you decide to take a holiday break somewhere to ski or snowboard you are even more susceptible to harmful rays.  Did you know that 80% of ultraviolet light is reflected back from the snow?  UV intensity increases by 10% for every 1,000 foot increase!  You need to be careful to hydrate your skin while outside in the snow, you’ll also need to use a sunscreen with an SPF 30 or greater.  Even just going and coming from work on a cloudy day requires a minimum of SPF 15.  Clients will comment they use sun protection that is in their tinted moisturiser or makeup.  And although that is better than not using anything, many dermatologists suggest using an additional sun protection with that.  Do you wear sunscreen when you fly?  Guess what you get harmful rays there too!  Yep can’t escape it, these harmful rays are always there.  When you fly you will be exposed to more UV exposure because you are higher in the sky.  Flying can also cause a tremendous amount of dehydration in the skin and using sun protection can help to protect your skin, so be sure to apply just before you board!

Aside from the main reasons for us to use sunscreen year round, how else might this be helpful to our skin in the winter? It’s simple really, the most effective way to prevent pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles,  is to use a sunscreen. Why cause premature aging when we can prevent it!  Indoor heating, windy days, pollution all contribute to the skin becoming drier in the winter.  We at Fern believe using the appropriate skincare alongside a good sunscreen will keep your skin in great condition.   There are two sunscreens we would like to highlight; these are our best sellers.
Skin Ceuticals Advanced UV Defense SPF 30 provides broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.  This is an ideal sunscreen to be used daily on all skin types and is perfect for those with sensitive skin.  It  contains Mexoryl SX and XL , designed especially to protect against UVA  damage.  It will also protect the skin against cell damage caused by UV rays and normalises epidermal renewal to resurface the skin.  We find this sunscreen to be super light and very easy to wear under makeup. 

Alpha H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF 50.  This sun protection, according to Alpha H, is a three-in-one age blocker, wrinkle saver and collagen saver.  Alpha H have formulated a product that provides you with a broad spectrum protection, is sweat resistant, water resistant and blended with antioxidant vitamin E. This product also contains the calming properties of Aloe Vera and pure Cera Alba (extracted from Honeycomb) to lock in moisture and to support the skin’s lipid barrier for long lasting hydration.  This product is super light, non-whitening on the skin and is perfect for oily to combination skin types.  It can also provide great added hydration to drier skin types.
Wear Sunscreen!  Don’t hesitate!  You’ll  thank us later, we promise!