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The Importance of Sunscreen in Winter Months

Topics: Sun Protection


I often get asked by my patients why they need to wear sunscreen in the winter if they are not getting any sun. Many people mistakenly think sunscreen is more of an option than a necessity during the winter months. It's easy to associate cold weather with frostbite and windburn, but most people are unaware that the winter UV rays can be every bit as damaging as the summer sun.   

You may be bundled up and not spending as much time outdoors in the winter months, but your face, ears, neck and hands are still exposed to these harmful rays. Leaving your skin unprotected in the winter months can lead to skin cancer, brown spots, wrinkles and fine lines on your hands, face and neck. Snow reflects up to 80 percent of the UV light from the sun. This means that you are often hit by the same rays twice. During the winter months the sun is closer to the earth and its rays are even stronger.   

The vast majority of UV exposure throughout your entire life is UVA which contributes to skin cancer and premature aging. You are exposed to UVA rays every time you walk outside your front door, drive your car, and sit next to a window - especially on a cloudy day. UVA penetrates through clouds and also window glass. You are getting much more exposures to these dangerous rays than you think.   

Winter sports enthusiasts are at an even higher risk for overexposure to the sun's UV rays and should be diligent about applying an SPF 30+ daily and reapplying frequently while outdoors or perspiring. I recommend these winter thrill seekers use a great sunscreen like Elta MD UV Sport which will not sting if it gets into their eyes or Elta MD Aero. If you are prone to breakouts and sensitive to SPF, Elta MD Clear is another nice option.   

I often recommend to my patients that a good way to get in the habit of applying a sunscreen to your face daily is to use a product like Revision Multi Protection SPF 50 or Revision Intellishade 45 moisturizer. Both of these products contain a moisturizer with anti aging properties and an SPF 45/50. Your skin will be moisturized, protected and slow down the aging process in one easy application.   

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