My toddler loves to go outside. Since we live in Southern California, there are few days where the weather doesn’t permit us to get out and about. Like many young kids, my son also squirms while I’m trying to apply sunscreen or sunblock to his face. Thus, sometimes in the winter, I think to myself, does he really need sunscreen? After all, it’s cloudy out, it’s winter and we’re not going to be outside too long. Yet, then I remember the handout I always receive at my children’s checkup; it says to put sunscreen on your children if they will be outside for longer than 10 minutes, including the winter. In reality, there are plenty of reasons to wear sunscreen in the winter. Here are four.
# 1 Protects Against UV rays
It’s a common misconception that UV rays are not as strong in the winter. Yet, this isn’t true. Dermatologist Heidi Waldorf asserts “UVA rays are the same strength year-round.” The best way to protect yourself year round is to wear sunscreen daily. To start, I wear a tinted moisturizer with built in sunscreen, every day. It’s part of my routine. Although you can’t see UV rays, they are powerful. In fact, according to the dermalinstitute.com, studies from Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Herston, Australia, revealed that daily sunscreen wearers “had 24% fewer … common precancerous skin lesions” than those who wore sunscreen occasionally.
# 2 Prevents Sunburn
Sunburns are a nasty thing. As a child, I remember getting a few bad sunburns, including sun blisters. Ouch! Along with causing skin damage and discomfort, the negative effects of sunburns do not stop after your skin returns to normal. According to medicine.net, “sunburn early in life increases the risk of developing skin cancer later on.” Furthermore, those who frequently go without sunscreen may experience premature wrinkles.
# 3 Physical Barrier
In the winter, sunscreens provides a physical barrier to the elements such as sun, wind and cold weather. This can prevent your skin from becoming red, raw and chapped. There are sunscreens and sunblocks made especially for winter. For example, Kiehls makes a Cross-Terrain UV Face Protector with an SPF 50 and Badger makes a creamy sports sunscreen cream with zinc oxide that is wonderful for outdoor winter activities. Of course, don’t forget to protect your lips with an SPF lip balm.
# 4 The Glare Factor
Those who participate in winter sports such as skiing or snowboarding have even more exposure to UV rays. According to the herald-review.com, “skiers are exposed to an extra 8 percent to 10 percent of UV radiation for every 1,000 feet of altitude.” The majority of these extra rays are due to the sun’s reflection off the snow. Thus, it’s important to wear sunglasses along with sunblock and lip protection with zinc.
Thus, should you wear sunscreen (or sunblock) in the winter? It’s beneficial for your health, and your looks, so, why not?
More from Melissa:
Winterize Your Beauty Routine: Best Makeup for Dry Winter Skin
Instructions for Great Skin During Pregnancy
How to Transition Your Wardrobe From Winter to Spring