You might mistakenly believe that during the winter months it is safe to skip sunscreen but nothing could be further from the truth. Winter sun is just as dangerous as summertime rays. In fact, it can be even more harmful because many people continuously go outside without sunscreen protection when the days start to grow shorter and the weather colder. You should always wear sunscreen in winter to protect your skin and prevent premature aging.
Skin Damaging Winter Rays
There are two types of rays that damage your skin, UVA and UVB.
- UVA: UVA rays have the ability to penetrate clouds and glass. They reach deeper into your skin’s layers and are a leading cause of premature aging and skin cancer.
- UVB: UVB rays are not as damaging as UVA. They are more intense during the summer months. UVB rays cause sunburn and penetrate only the superficial layers of skin. This is still a concern on those days when the skies are clear, but the weather is freezing.
Why Wear Sunscreen in Winter?
Here are several reasons why you should continue using sunscreen year round.
- Cloud Cover: Clouds provide no protection from the sun’s harmful rays. Up to 80 percent of the UV rays penetrate the clouds to reach your skin.
- Altitude Dangers: Winter sports in the mountains feature breathtaking views but the high altitude makes the sun even more dangerous. UV radiation increases by 5 percent for every 1,000 feet of elevation.
- Snow: Snow is beautiful but it also reflects UV rays. The reflection makes the sunlight even more intense and damaging.
- Erosion: Most people are aware that sweat and water rapidly remove sunscreen but winter conditions can also deplete the beneficial layer of protection from your skin. Strong winds and snow peel the sunscreen off your skin. You will need to reapply the sunscreen throughout the day.
Applying Sunscreen in Winter
Many people overlook the lips when applying sunscreen. If they hit the slopes and their lips start to feel chafed they credit the discomfort to windburn. This is true to a certain degree but your lips can also become sunburn without proper sunscreen protection. The backs of your hands and the tops of your ears are other areas that are often neglected and can become burned and damaged.
The Skin Dangers Caused by Sunlight
The sun is dangerous and you need to constantly protect your skin by using sunscreen and by covering up with layers of clothing. Over time, the skin’s DNA sustains damage and mutations. Free radical damage becomes more common. Winter exposed skin may take on a rough and red appearance which indicates sun damage. There are ways to reverse it but prevention is your first step to combat sun damaged skin. Skin will start to prematurally age, feature spotting, spider veins, and keratosis buildup. It is estimated that one in five people will be diagnosed with skin cancer. The UV rays attack the skin’s elastin which significantly reduces its ability to maintain its form and spring back.
What Sunscreen is Best for Winter?
Treat winter sun just like you would summer sun conditions. Ideally, you need to wear an SPF of at least 30. Always rub it completely into your skin until fully absorbed before heading outdoors. Also, try to find a sunscreen that also has heavier moisturizers, winter weather can dry skin out.
Cosmetic Procedures to Consider When Combating Sun Damage
Facials and Peels
Sun damaged skin that exhibits skin discoloration and wrinkling responds well to facials and peels. Hydrafacial is a simple multi-step procedure. The procedure wipes away most sun damage from the skin’s surface, reduces lines, and diminishes deep wrinkles plus plumps the skin out to provide a more youthful appearance. The skin will feel firmer and exhibit a healthy glow.
Photo Facial Treatment
Photo facial treatments reduce the appearance of sun damage on the face, neck, and chest by using pulses of light. The visible signs of sun damage on the skin’s surface are virtually obliterated. Aging skin becomes noticeably younger looking and damage is less visible. Photo facial treatments generally take 15 to 30 minutes.
ProFractional Therapy is a form of laser treatment that can be used on the face, neck, chest, and hands. The surrounding regions of skin start to rejuvenate and heal which increases collagen production reducing the appearance of sun damage. The skin will feel firmer and softer.
Many signs of sun exposure can be fixed or reduced through cosmetic procedures. Dr. Vargas and her team of medical professionals at Vargas Face & Skin Center will evaluate your skin and make suggestions on ways you can reduce the damage sustained and prevent new problems from arising. Please call for to book a consultation today.