Why Winter Sunscreen Is A Must
Most people know that summer outdoor fun requires sunscreen and those who forget to learn very quickly through the pain of a sunburn. However, many do not realize that winter sunlight still contains UVA and UVB exposure, and snow reflection can be almost as damaging to skin as direct sunlight. Additionally, reduced melanin in winter can limit skin’s ability to deal with harmful UV radiation in the colder months.
Let’s look at a few reasons why it’s a bad idea to skip sunscreen during winter.
- UVB Rays: The reason sunburns happen more in the summertime is not just due to summer clothing. Summer sunlight has a higher amount of UVB, or “short wave” rays, which burn the skin’s upper layers, cause pain and increase the risk of developing skin cancer. Although winter sunlight is not as intense as summer sun, there are still UVB rays present, and sunburns during fall and winter seasons happen quite often.
- UVA Rays: As if this weren’t bad enough, the second type of damaging sunlight, UVA, or “long wave” rays stay constant year long and are in a way, more harmful than UVB radiation. They penetrate deeper into the skin, cause premature aging, and can also cause skin cancer. UVA rays pass easily through clouds, glass, and some types of clothing, so our skin is often bombarded with this type of radiation, including the colder months, on overcast days, and in some indoor areas.
- Sunlight Reflection: Even though the winter sun isn’t so hot, that doesn’t mean that you won’t burn. Just ask anyone who has been skiing without facial protection. Ice and snow tend to reflect about 80 percent of sunlight, which means any unprotected skin is being exposed to UV rays at almost a double amount, from above and below.
- Skin Melanin: Because of heavy clothing and the less intense winter sun, many people produce less melanin during colder months. That can mean reduced protection and skin damage from UV radiation, even in the winter.
Although it may sound counter-intuitive, wintertime sun protection is just as important as in the hotter seasons. This is especially important for those who want to maintain a healthy youthful appearance throughout their lifetime. Proper skin protection right now can amount to being fifty years old and looking forty or thirty, or being fifty years old and looking sixty or seventy. Additionally, skin protection can mean the difference between contracting skin cancer with all the suffering involved, or a healthy, cancer-free life. If you would like to learn more about protecting your skin in winter, contact us at Sanova Dermatology and we will be happy to provide all the tools you need to maintain your healthy skin and radiant appearance.