Should I wear sunscreen in winter months? It may sound counterintuitive, but you should do your due diligence. Here's what to consider about winter sunscreen. 

You might be the kind of person who diligently slathers on sunscreen of SPF50 or higher every day during the summertime. But as soon as the days grow colder and winter blankets the landscape, you are tempted to stash away the sunscreen for a little while.

After all, the sun seems less intense, and the warmth on your skin feels comforting rather than potentially harmful.

However, the question lingers: Should I wear sunscreen in winter? In this article, we'll unravel the myths and unveil the reasons why sunscreen should be a non-negotiable part of your skincare routine, even when the temperatures drop.

The Sun's UV Rays Know No Season

Contrary to popular belief, the sun doesn't take a vacation during the winter. While the intensity of sunlight may vary, the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays responsible for skin damage are still prevalent.

You might see clouds and think the sun's rays or at least UV rays aren't penetrating it, but that's not accurate. 

Both UVA and UVB rays can penetrate cloud cover and reflect off surfaces like snow, increasing the risk of skin damage and accelerated aging.

No matter what the season (yes, even in the rainy season), you must wear sunscreen as if your skin depended on it. Because it does. 

Snow Amplifies UV Radiation

Perhaps you love the wintertime because it's a great time to go be more active outdoors through snow sports. Good for you!

As long as you don't forget the sunscreen, that is. 

Snow-covered landscapes are not only picturesque but also pose an additional risk to your skin. Snow reflects up to 80% of UV radiation, intensifying your exposure.

Skiers, snowboarders, and anyone spending extended periods outdoors in snowy conditions are particularly susceptible to the amplified effects of UV rays. This heightened reflection emphasizes the need for protective measures, including sunscreen application.

UVB Rays and Vitamin D Synthesis

Some argue that avoiding sun protection cream in the winter allows the skin to produce essential Vitamin D through exposure to UVB rays. While it's true that sunlight is a natural source of Vitamin D, the balance between reaping its benefits and preventing skin damage is crucial.

Experts recommend a balanced approach. This means you need to get adequate Vitamin D from diet or supplements while protecting your skin from harmful UVB rays that contribute to sunburn and long-term damage.

If you really can't do without a few rays of sun, then consider the "10 before 10" rule. Get 10 minutes of sunshine on your body before 10 am. 

From 10 am to 4 pm, it's better to cover up, stay in the shade, and use sunscreen to protect yourself from the harmful sun's rays. 

Skin Aging and UV Exposure

Do you know someone who looks like they are in their twenties, even though they are already 50 years or older? It's probably because they were diligent about protecting their skin from the sun in their younger years. 

Sunscreen isn't just about preventing sunburn; it's a formidable defense against premature aging. UV rays contribute significantly to skin aging by breaking down collagen and promoting the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.

The winter sun, although less intense, can still accelerate these aging processes. Consistent sunscreen application acts as a barrier, shielding your skin from the cumulative effects of UV exposure. 

Skin Cancer Risk Persists

Skin cancer doesn't discriminate based on the season (or skin tone). The risk of developing skin cancer, including melanoma, is a year-round concern.

UV radiation is a leading cause of skin cancer, and protecting your skin with sunscreen is a fundamental preventive measure. Regular use of sunscreen can significantly reduce the risk of skin cancer, emphasizing its importance regardless of the season.

This is even more important if you have a family history of skin cancer. Then you must get skin cancer screening regularly as well.

Outdoor Activities Increase Sun Exposure

Winter often beckons people outdoors for activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, or winter walks. Engaging in these activities exposes your skin to the elements, including the winter sun.

Applying sunscreen to exposed areas such as the face, neck, and hands before venturing outdoors helps maintain the health of your skin and minimizes the risk of sun damage.

Also, make sure to reapply sunscreen every 1-2 hours, depending on how much you are sweating. 

Sunscreen Beyond Sunburn Prevention

Sunscreen is not solely about avoiding the immediate discomfort of sunburn. It serves as a holistic skincare solution, protecting your skin from long-term damage, discoloration, and uneven pigmentation caused by UV exposure.

If you don't want to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on skincare remediation efforts in your later years, wear sunscreen right now, no matter the season.

Incorporating sunscreen into your winter skincare routine contributes to the overall health and appearance of your skin.

Moisturizing and Sunscreen Synergy

Winter brings dry air, and indoor heating further depletes moisture from the skin. Using a moisturizer is a common practice during this season, but combining it with sun-blocking cream creates a potent duo.

Many sunscreens also offer moisturizing properties, ensuring that your skin remains hydrated and protected against both UV radiation and winter dryness.

Choosing the Right Sunscreen

When selecting sunscreen for winter use, opt for a broad-spectrum formula with an SPF rating of 30 or higher. Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays.

Consider a product with moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid or glycerin to combat winter dryness. Additionally, choose sunscreens suitable for daily use on the face, neck, and hands, areas most exposed to the sun.

Should I Wear Sunscreen in Winter? 

There are many other things you might be worrying about during wintertime, like shoveling your driveway, getting to work on time through the snowstorm, and staying warm enough. But you shouldn't forget to add sunscreen to that list as well. 

Now that you know the answer to the question, "Should I wear sunscreen in winter?", you should know that you can also use UV protective clothing to protect yourself from the harmful sun's rays. 

This is especially useful if you spend long hours outdoors. Check out our online collection for women