Maybe because the name is tagged “sunscreen,” a lot of people think the application of sunscreens has to be under sun exposure only. I mean, it only makes common sense for it to be that way because of the name it’s been called. However, sunscreens are to be used under sun exposure and beyond that. Sunscreens are required in all seasons, including winter when there seems to be no sun exposure.
This article shall explain seven surprising benefits of wearing sunscreen in the winter, how to apply it, and everything you need to know about sunscreen application during winter.
Sunscreens are primarily used to protect the skin from the harmful effects of sun rays. According to a Dermatology Treatment and Research Centre, When the skin has been exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet light over time, it tends to weaken the outer layer of the skin. If care is not taken, the damage gets deep and affects the inner layer to either get damaged or die.
As a result, the skin quickly gets wrinkled, discoloured, or, at worst, becomes cancerous.
Sunscreens are the proper measures that can be used to combat all the consequences above.
However, there is a myth surrounding the use of sunscreen itself. Quite a lot of people think the usage of sunscreens is only peculiar to hot and sunny weather. However, this is not true. The cold temperature doesn’t guarantee any exposure to skin-damaging rays.
The President of The Skin Cancer Foundation, Dr Deborah S. Sarnoff, affirms that the skin can still sustain sun damage during winter just as quickly during summer.
Surprising benefits of wearing sunscreen during winter
- Prevents sunburn
As surprising as it may sound, you can still get sunburned during winter. The UVB rays associated with age spots, sun damage and sometimes, cancer are also present during winter. Astonishingly, those in the northern hemisphere are even closer to the sun during the winter season. UV rays are present all year round and even hit twice more during winter. Reflective surfaces such as ice and snow reflect up to 80% of the UV radiation during this low-temperature season you see as unharmful.
So, although the temperature seems cool and unharming, the entire planet is closer to the sun, and the UV rays expose the skin to a higher risk of sunburn than it does during summer.
This means you shouldn’t be thinking of dumping your sunscreen as you approach the winter season.
- Tackles Winter sport harshness
Winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding can increase your risk of skin damage. Snow and ice can intensify sun rays because they reflect up to 90% of UV rays on their own. So, your favourite winter spots can put you at risk of extreme sun damage, resulting in wrinkles, sunburn(and windburn), and, at worst, cancer.
If you involve yourself in any winter sport, you should never neglect sunscreen. Apply a strong sunscreen on your face, hands, neck, ears and every other place exposed during your adventure. It is also advisable to get sunglasses for the eyes.
- Adds moisture
The Winter season is well known for its dryness and low moisture. The dry wind’s harshness causes cracks and wrinkles and extracts the skin’s moisture. These leave the skin sensitive and more exposed to infections.
Applying sunscreen during winter can help restore the moisture the season has stripped the skin of, preventing further cracks, wrinkles or infections.
It would be helpful also to know that the winter season can also affect your sunscreen’s effectiveness if not correctly applied and reapplied often. That is because of how the wind, sleet, snow and low temperatures are at war with the skin moisture throughout the season.
- Prevents Irritation and redness
Another notable feature of the winter season is windburn, characterised by redness and irritation. It also boils down to a lack of moisture in the skin.
Applying sunscreen on the face, hands, ears, and other exposed body parts will ensure the body retains its moisture and keeps it well hydrated, thereby preventing redness and irritation associated with the winter season.
- Outsmart the ozone layer
The ozone layer is part of the atmosphere that absorbs and reflects the UV rays from the sun. The warm temperature of the summer season enables more production of ozone while the cold and dry winter season slows and thins out its efficiency. This means that you have less protection from the sun during winter, even though it seems complicated and skin-friendly.
The only way to outsmart the thinning ozone layer that makes your skin absorb more UV rays is to apply your sunscreen religiously.
- Prevent premature ageing
I’m sure you must have read quite a several articles or heard from your dermatologist that sunscreen prevents premature ageing. That should be reason enough to make you never dump your sunscreen, irrespective of the season.
It is not just about applying sunscreen; you must do it religiously without leaving out some days or seasons.
- Reduces the chance of developing cancer
The points above have reiterated that the skin is more at risk of UV rays in winter. And it is no news that exposure to UV rays penetrates deep to damage the DNA in skin cells, thereby causing skin cancer such as Melanoma. Maintaining your level of sunscreen usage will prevent your chances of getting skin cancer.
How to apply sunscreen
The following steps, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, are the proper way of applying sunscreen.
- Choosing your sunscreen
The first step to applying sunscreen is getting a sunscreen that is suitable for your skin type and is also according to your budget. Whichever one you choose should be water resistant, have at least 30 SPF and is capable of protecting you against UVA and UVB rays.
It is advisable to talk to your dermatologist in case you are confused about how to go about this step.
- Apply a few minutes before leaving indoor
This Association affirms that it takes approximately 15 minutes before your skin absorbs sunscreen properly, so you should be sure to apply it before leaving the house or anywhere you are. Hurrying to apply sunscreen as you go out or while you are Al’s ready outside is as bad as not applying it at all.
- Use enough sunscreen
Sunscreen should be used thoroughly on the skin. You can follow the two-finger rule for application on the face and neck.
- Apply on all exposed parts
Sunscreens are not only for the face and neck; you should apply sunscreen on all areas that would be exposed while you’re outside. You should, however, note that there are lip balms with SPF you can use for your lips.
Sunscreens are not to be applied once daily. You should reapply your sunscreen after every two hours you spend outside. Not minding the time speculated, you should reapply sunscreen immediately after swimming, sweating profusely, or any other activity that requires water on the areas you’ve earlier used sunscreen on.
Re-application of sunscreen is as necessary as wearing sunscreen at all.
Yes, you do need to wear sunscreen indoors during winter. This is because UV rays can still pass through your windows, and the lights from your TVs, laptops, cellphones and even lamps can also add to skin damage. Unless you are sure that you’ll be in total darkness for the day, wear sunscreen.
Sunscreen with at least SPF 30 is recommended to protect sufficiently from UV rays.
Yes, it would help if you used sunscreen while you’re home because of the lights emitted from your gadgets.
Sunscreen during winter is one of the best skincare decisions you’ll ever make. It helps retain your skin moisture and also prevents you from the dangers of UV rays.
The best sunscreen to use during winter is hydrating, with more than 30SPF. Be sure to consult a board-certified dermatologist before getting one.
You should wear sunscreen at least 15 minutes before leaving your house in any season and reapply after two hours or immediately after swimming.
Sunscreen is also an agent that works well with other skincare products to fade spots and brighten the skin. The reason is that it prevents the skin from damage, which then leads to reduced production of melanin.
Any sunscreen with at least 30SPF is suitable for adequate protection. However, those who engage in extreme winter sports may have to use a strong SPF of 50+.
Wearing sunscreen during winter is as important as wearing it during summer. Some studies even affirm the fact that you need to wear your sunscreen more often during winter. The reason is the harshness of weather conditions.
Don’t be deceived by the cold temperature; visit your dermatologist and get a prescribed sunscreen suitable for your skin.