Should You Wear Sunscreen in The Winter?
Just the smell of sunscreen immediately calls to mind thoughts of swimsuits and flip-flops at the beach or the pool during the hot days of summer. But most people don’t equate sunscreen use with the cold, dark, dreary days of Michigan winters. As a result, many women and men routinely apply SPF as part of their 3 or 4 month summer routine – and then leave it on the shelf for the other 8 or nine months a year.
But there are several very good reasons that you should make daily sunscreen application a part of your regimen, even on cold and cloudy fall and winter days, too.
UVA vs. UVB Rays
First let’s take a minute to understand the difference between the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.
Ultraviolet B (UVB) Rays, or “shortwave” rays, are what cause redness and sunburns – but these don’t penetrate the skin as deeply as UVA ways. UVB rays are most intense from early spring to early fall, and during the sunniest hours of midday. UVB rays do not penetrate glass as well as UVA rays, and dwindle in the winter somewhat.
Ultraviolet A (UVA) Rays, or “long wave” rays, make up 95 percent of the sun’s rays that reach the Earth. UVA Rays penetrate the skin much deeper than UVB rays, and they are the rays that are responsible for signs of aging, like wrinkles, leathery skin and dark spots. They are also what can cause skin cancers.
It’s important to understand that these dangerous UVA rays can penetrate glass and clouds.
Why You Need Sunscreen in Winter
You may “feel” the sun’s rays more intensely on hot summer days, but remember the sun shines every day in Michigan – especially dangerous UVB rays – even when it’s cold. And, if you think that the clouds are providing protection you are incorrect. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the sun’s UVA rays can penetrate through clouds. So, you are getting sun exposure on cloudy day.
In fact, UVB rays can even be more damaging in the winter if you’re around ice or snow. This is because the UV light can be reflected by the bright white snow and shiny ice – and hit your skin twice. Which can mean double the damage that UV rays can cause during the summer.
But I Never Get Sunburned in The Winter!
Sunburns don’t only happen in summer. Just ask any avid skier who has spent a day on Mt. Holly, Mt. Brighton, Pine Knob or Alpine Valley right here in Oakland County. So, even though the UVB rays are strongest in the summer, if you aren’t wearing sunscreen in winter, the Skin Cancer Foundation states that you can absolutely get burned!
And, while UVB rays (which are responsible for burns), can affect skin all year round it’s the UVA rays that cause the most skin damage – even though they don’t burn and aren’t felt as intensely.
But you don’t go outside in the cold weather? No matter – remember the sun’s damaging UV rays can penetrate glass and reach your skin through windows. So, it isn’t safe to assume that you are protected in winter by simply staying instead and avoiding outdoor winter activities.
Sunscreen Should Be Worn Year Round
At AMAE in Birmingham, MI we recommend that all of our patients wear sunscreen daily – year-round – to prevent cumulative sun exposure that causes fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, and even skin cancer. But, all sunscreen is NOT created equal.
To begin with, it is important that your sunscreen is ‘broad spectrum’ – which means it includes both and UVB UVA protection.
The Food & Drug Administration’s guidelines suggest using sunscreen with an SPF value of 15 or higher, and SPF 30 or higher for fair skin. But remember, these recommendations are primarily aimed at preventing against skin cancer. A higher SPF may provide even better sun blockage that helps prevent cosmetic damage – such as fine lines, wrinkles and “sun spots”.
Best Sunscreen Products | Birmingham, MI
At AMAE we offer premium sunscreen products by Alastin, ZO Skin Health and Elastin that provide optimal, broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection, while also nourishing skin and not clogging pores.
It’s fast and easy to apply sunscreen as the final step of your skincare routine in the morning. Or, to cut down on how long it takes you to get ready, you can use a premium moisturizer with built-in SPF. This month we’re offering a special on EltaMD’s UV Replenish Broad-Spectrum SPF 44 – a chemical free, mineral sunscreen with hyaluronic acid that moistures skin.
Our Aestheticians offers the absolute best technologies in anti-aging facials and peels. Schedule a consultation to see which type of facial or peel is best for your skin type and beauty goals. Then relax in our Birmingham MedSpa, while Our Aestheticians makes you look and feel younger and even more beautiful!
Buy Sunscreen | Birmingham MedSpa: 248.335.7200