Woman in the snow

Why You Need Sunscreen in the Winter

Winter is here, and although it may not feel like the sun is shining as often, your skin still needs protection. Sunscreen is on everyone’s summer necessity list. But let’s face it—most of us forget about sun protection once the colder winter months roll around. 

After all, if there are no beaches to lounge on or pools to dip into, does it matter? 

The reality is, yes, it does. 

Wintertime brings its own special set of risks that can damage your skin. Wearing sunscreen in winter is just as crucial as during the summer months.  Let’s take a closer look at why.

Why Is Sunscreen Important?

With the temperature dropping as fast as the snowflakes outside your window, you may think this includes the sun. And while it gets darker more quickly in the winter, cold weather doesn't necessarily mean harmful ultraviolet radiation (UV) rays disappear.

The sun gives off UV rays all year round ––yes, even during the winter months––and this can be very damaging to your skin. Sunlight is made up of UVA rays and UVB rays. 

  • UVA rays are responsible for accelerating the aging of your skin. These rays can pass through windows, so even if you’re not outside, just standing or working by a window can affect your skin.

  • UVB rays, on the other hand, cannot pass through windows. But, UVB rays are responsible for other skin damage such as sunburns. 

So whether you are outside or inside during any season, including winter, you should wear sunscreen every day.

Snow Can Intensify UV Rays

Snow and ice can worsen UV rays by reflecting and bouncing back onto your skin. While the risk is low, prolonged exposure during outdoor winter activities such as skiing and sledding can have lasting effects.  

And if you think you’re safe on cloudy days, think again. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “...up to 80% of the sun’s harmful rays can penetrate the clouds.” Sunscreen use in winter can help reduce and prevent UV rays from damaging your skin.

Skin Cancer Is Always a Risk

We get it - it’s hard to think about UV protection skin care while bundled up in heavy layers, but being exposed to the sun, even if it’s only your face, can still cause sun damage. Over time, the build-up of sun damage can lead to skin cancer. Prolonged exposure to UV radiation increases your risk of getting skin cancer, among other factors such as having a fair complexion and a family history.

Just because you don't get a tan in winter doesn't mean you're immune from sun damage. It's essential to protect any exposed skin by wearing sunscreen in winter daily, regardless of the season. So while a sunny day may not be as blistering hot in December or January as in July or August, your skin still needs protection from those harmful UV rays.

Premature Aging

After a certain age, your skin naturally begins to slow down its production of collagen and elastin, both responsible for keeping your skin smooth and flexible. But did you know that sun damage can also accelerate the aging process? Yep - this means visible age spots, wrinkles, and fine lines that appear earlier, making you look older than you are. 

Using sunscreen in winter protects your skin from harmful UV rays and also helps prevent premature aging. As a bonus, some sunscreens have added anti-aging properties, such as our  Chase The Sun SPF 30 Face Moisturizer. The best way to stay healthy and youthful – no matter the temperature – is to wear sunscreen every day.

How to Choose the Best Sunscreen?

When choosing a sunscreen, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to block UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreens are available in various forms, including creams, gels, lotions, ointments, sprays, and sticks. 

And the best thing is that sunscreens are also available in combination with skincare products like moisturizers and makeup. This means you don’t have to worry about having multiple products on hand with an intensive skincare routine. Simply choose a UV protection skin moisturizer with added SPF, like our Chase The Sun SPF 30 Face Moisturizer.  

Still not sure how to choose a sunscreen? The best sunscreen for you is ultimately based on your personal preference and skin type.

Dry Skin

If you have dry skin, choose a cream-based sunscreen with hydrating, moisturizing properties. You want a sunscreen that blends in easily, leaving behind no white residue. Look for a lightweight moisturizing sunscreen that contains ingredients like hyaluronic acid and aloe vera, such as our Chase The Sun SPF 30 Face Moisturizer.

Oily Skin

It can be tempting to forgo sunscreen since it can cause breakouts and clog pores. But today’s sunscreen market is changing. You can find sunscreen suitable for any skin type, including oily skin. Choose a gel-based sunscreen that will leave you with a matte finish. Look for a lightweight sunscreen that is labeled as oil-free or non-comedogenic. Avoid sunscreens containing mineral oil.

When to Use Sunscreen?

Wearing sunscreen is essential all year round, even during cold winter days when you feel like it won’t make much difference anyway. The same rules for summertime application apply to winter. Keep your skin safe by:

  • Putting sunscreen on 15 to 20 minutes before you go outside. It takes a little bit of time for the product to sink in and protect your skin.

  • Applying sunscreen to all exposed skin, such as your lips, using a lip balm with sun protection. 

  • Applying sunscreen as part of your daily skincare routine. Using a combination skincare product like a moisturizer with added SPF saves time and keeps your skin safe. After all, UV rays can penetrate indoors through windows, so it’s best to wear sunscreen every day.  

  • Reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours. Harsh winter conditions can reduce the effectiveness of sunscreen, so you may have to apply it more often. And just because a sunscreen has a higher number of SPF doesn’t necessarily mean it lasts longer either. You’ll still need to reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours.

When to Use Sunscreen?

Although sunscreen use in winter is one of the best ways to protect your skin, there are other steps you can take to protect your skin fully. To keep your skin looking healthy and glowing all season long:

  • Stay in the shade. The sun is the brightest and strongest from late morning 10 a.m. to late afternoon 2 p.m. Minimize your time outdoors during this time or try to stay in the shade when possible.  

  • Wear UV-protective clothing and bundle up. Minimize the amount of exposed skin to not only the cold elements but the sun. If you are outside for a prolonged period, wear clothing specially made with UV protection. 

  • Don’t forget the accessories. You’re bundled up with your gloves and scarf, ready for the great outdoors but don’t forget those UV-protective sunglasses. And while you’re at it, add a wide-brimmed hat to the mix to not only shield the snow but the sun from your face.  

With these additional tips added on top of using sunscreen - you’ll be well on your way to healthier-looking skin all through winter.

The Bottom Line

So now that you know why sunscreen year-round is so vital for your skin’s health, make sure you have plenty of SPF on hand. Whether it's summer or winter—don't forget your sunscreen (and lip balm, too!) before heading out into the sunshine. A few extra minutes of preparation can save your skin later down the line.

If you are looking for the best SPF for daily use on the face, our Chase The Sun SPF 30 Face Moisturizer has you covered. Its lightweight, non-greasy formula provides hydration and moisturization with broad-spectrum sun protection. Plus, it has added antioxidants to help protect your skin from free radical damage.