Should I Wear Sunscreen Everyday in the Winter?
Wearing sunscreen while laying out by the pool or the beach in the summer is a given. However, when the sun still shines in the winter, it might lead you to ask the question: should I wear sunscreen everyday? The answer to this question is a definite YES! Sun damage can still occur even in the colder and darker months of the year.
- Why wearing SPF daily is crucial to the health and longevity of your skin
- The big difference between the commonly confused “sunscreen” and “sunblock”
- The best sunscreen products to wear all year round, especially for dry skin
The common misconception that your skin will not experience sun damage during the times when it is cloudy outside or when you are simply driving around doing errands is very worrisome. Sunburn and sun damage can occur in all types of weather, all year round. This is why The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) suggests that people use sun protectant for their skin on a daily and yearly basis.
The Importance of Sun Protectants and SPF
We mention that the sun causes damage to your skin, but what is really so harmful about these UV rays? When the sun shines down the harmful UV rays hit the deep layers of our skin, killing and damaging our skin cells. The damage of these cells begins to cause premature aging and very discolored pigmentation to the surface level of our skin. This is why it is extremely important that you take preventative measures to keep the skin looking young and glowy.
That being said, using a sun protectant with a high amount of SPF is one of the best preventative measures to sun damage that you can take! So what is SPF?
Well, the level of SPF we see on the outside of sunscreen bottles shows the measure of how well the sun protectant will protect your skin from harmful UV rays. SPF levels can range anywhere from 10-100, with 100 being the highest level of protection. For example, if your skin burns fast in the sun, applying a sunscreen with an SPF 30 would allow you to stay out for a factor of 30 times longer than you would normally be able to without applying sunscreen.
Just because the sun doesn't shine as bright in the winter time, it does not mean you should automatically decrease the level of SPF you wear. Surprisingly enough, in states where it snows, dermatologists actually recommend you continue to wear a high level of SPF since the snow and ice can reflect and intensify the sunlight on your skin.
Why should I wear sunscreen everyday?
- Reduces risk of skin cancer
The two main causes of skin cancer are the sun’s UV rays, as well as tanning beds. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, about one in five people develop skin cancer in their lifetime, however, chances are significantly reduced if sunscreen is applied daily. This is definitely a reason you should strongly consider when you ask yourself the question “should I wear sunscreen everyday?”
- Prevents signs of aging
We all love a nice tan glow to our skin. But without the usage of SPF, ultraviolet rays cause premature damage to the elasticity and collagen fibers in our skin. This damage results in age spots, dark spots, more wrinkles, and fine lines. Applying SPF daily can help keep the skin looking healthy, young, and glowy.
- Reduces sunburn and irritation
Preventing sunburn is usually the number one reason why people choose to wear sunscreen. Sunscreen reduces sunburn by providing a protective barrier to the skin, which blocks the harmful rays. The sun can also cause swelling and irritation to the skin, resulting in discoloration and even pain. It is important to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours, especially when you are out in the sun.
Sunscreen vs Sunblock
It tends to me a common misconception that the words “sunscreen” and “sunblock” mean the same thing. However, they are actually two completely different forms of sun protection. So what is the difference?
Sunscreen is the more common form of sun protectant, as it works to filter out most of the sun’s harmful rays through a chemical reaction. Basically, sunscreen contains chemicals such as oxybenzone or avobenzone, that absorb the UV rays from the sun and convert it into heat to be released from your skin. Due to the organic chemicals in sunscreen, this sun protectant tends to cause irritation to people with more sensitive skin. That being said, make sure to always check the sunscreen’s label for ingredients or harsh chemicals your skin might react poorly to.
On the other hand, sunblock provides an actual physical shield to the skin with mineral ingredients such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. The mineral ingredients in sunblock create a thicker, more opaque consistency than the chemicals in sunscreen. So when you see someone at the beach with a white cast on top of their nose, you will know that they probably just applied sunblock rather than sunscreen!
Best sunscreen products for all year round
It can be difficult to find a sunscreen product that you like and do not struggle to implement in your daily skin routine. Some sunscreens have been known to dry out the skin, cause breakouts, and increase irritation, especially in the winter months. Lucky for you, there are many dermatologist recommended options that take into consideration all your big sunscreen concerns!
In the winter time, it may be best to use a sunscreen over a sunblock since sunscreen leaves less of a white cast and soaks into the skin more providing moisture to the dryness.
Some winter sunscreen essentials include:
- Neutrogena Hydro Boost Sunscreen
- Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion
- The ordinary
- Juice Beauty
The key to finding the best sunscreen is to look at the labels for the product with the least amount of ingredients.
Overall, it is better to be safe than sorry! That means you answer YES to the question of “should I wear sunscreen everyday?” regardless of the season or the weather!!!! Start to include a sun protectant as a regular part of your morning skin routine, and make sure you apply it before you put on your makeup. Daily usage of sunscreen will significantly increase the longevity of your skin and maintain that youth glow.
Written by Emma Carlson