While you may not be spending as much time basking in the sunshine, winter is not the time to put away your sunscreen. In fact, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation, in the right conditions, the sun can affect your skin in winter just as much as it does in summer.
Mario Correia brand manager for sun care brand, Everysun expands on this by explaining that often people believe that because the weather is cold, the sun’s ability to harm their skin is not as strong as in summer. However, the sun’s UV rays that cause ageing and skin damage are still reaching your skin.
UV rays are made up of UVB and UVA rays. UVB rays are the main cause of sunburn and are slightly weaker in winter than in summer. However, if you are at a high altitude or near a reflective surface such as snow, your skin can be harmed. Snow can reflect up to 80% of the sun’s UV light, which means that the sun’s rays will hit your face twice, further risking damage.
UVA rays are constant throughout the year and can even reach your skin on a cloudy and foggy day, as well as penetrate glass. This makes it possible to experience skin damage while indoors, and during cloud cover. UVA rays cause photoageing which includes wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, liver spots etc. Over time, and through extended exposure to the sun, this damage can later lead to terminal forms of skin cancer.
“Sun damage accumulates no matter what you are doing; whether it is walking to your car, or hanging up your washing, it all adds up,” explains Correia. “Wearing sunscreen in winter, especially on skin that is exposed such as your face, neck, and hands, is a necessity. “Axing the sunscreen part of your morning beauty ritual in winter is a big no,” Correia concludes.
In fact, the Skin Cancer Foundation warns that in winter your sunscreen erodes from your skin faster than in summer due to harsher conditions such as wind. Applying it only in the morning, is not enough. Just as in summer, your sunscreen needs to be reapplied throughout the day.
By protecting your skin during winter, you will be giving it the best treatment, and experience the following the benefits:
1. By applying sunscreen regularly throughout the year, no matter the season, you are helping to prevent premature ageing. Without the right measures in place, the chances of developing sun-spotted damaged skin are high.
2. During winter, your skin can become dehydrated. The winter winds and cooler temperatures can cause your skin to lose moisture. Using sunscreen in winter with moisturising ingredients will help to lock in your skin’s moisture. Everysun’s range of sun care products includes an anti-ageing face moisturising crème SPF 50 as well as an entire family moisturising sun care range suitable for all ages including sunscreen, aftersun and a sports range.
3. Even though it is winter, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get sunburned. Using sunscreen will help you to avoid being sunburned and the uncomfortable experience.
4. The effects of sun exposure are cumulative. New research and the publication of the findings of long-term studies are revealing important information about the cumulative effects of sun exposure. It seems that the more time your skin is exposed to UVA/UVB rays over a lifetime, the greater your risk for skin cancer. Studies indicate that high levels of lifetime sun exposure are responsible for most cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer.
5. Just as it is important to apply sunscreen to your own skin, it is just as important to apply it to your children’s skin as well. Children’s skin is thinner and more delicate than adults, and therefore needs to be well-protected all year round to avoid sunburn and sun damage later in life.
“By simply continuing your sun care regime in winter, your skin will be protected ensuring fewer skin concerns and conditions later in life,” comments Correia.