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How important is wearing SPF in winter?


By Hannah Hillyer
23rd Jan 2019
How important is wearing SPF in winter?

Despite the fact that once January rolls around it feels as though we have never even seen sunlight, SPF is still a must. Without the sun beaming down at us it can be easy to forget that just because the temperature has dropped does not mean we are not susceptible to sun damage.

Winter Skin

In winter we are more prone to dry, dehydrated skin. This is when we reach for the exfoliators! Be they chemical or physical, we are removing dead skin to reveal brighter, fresher skin underneath. It is so important that we apply SPF onto skin that has been exfoliated as it is more sensitive, even more so if you have previous sun damage, hyper-pigmentation or acne scarring.

But it’s always cloudy?

UVB rays drop in winter, and these are what give you sunburn. UVA rays, however, are still a risk as these contribute to ageing and skin cancer. Lack of sun has little impact as 80% of the UVA rays can penetrate clouds. So, even though there is less sunshine you are still absorbing harmful UVA’s through all those overcast skies.

Do I need to use the same amount of SPF as in summer?

It has been much debated whether your daily moisturiser/foundation containing sunscreen is as effective as an SPF. When people apply a dedicated SPF they tend to do so more carefully, only missing 11% of their face according to The British Association of Dermatologists. However, when using a more multi-tasking product we apply less and in a more haphazard way, missing 16% of our face. The research overall suggests that we should really be using a dedicated SPF on our face, not one already in our foundation or moisturiser, as it is more effective.

What works for you?

Personally, in winter upon leaving the house and getting home it is dark. I also spend my sunlight hours indoors, apart from an occasional lunchtime dash for coffee. So I don’t use a dedicated SPF every day, and I rely on my moisturiser’s SPF 30 protection as I am hardly exposed to the sun. SPF in winter is about common sense, if you know you are not outdoors day to day then wear it in a way that suits your lifestyle.

Most of us, at weekends, are outdoors more than your Mon-Fri, here it would definitely be recommended to apply a dedicated SPF, making sure to apply on the oft-forgotten areas; tip of the nose, tops of ears and your eyelids. The most important time to make sure you apply is if you are out in the snow, not something usually relevant to us but given the snow we had last year it’s worth mentioning. The snow refracts lights so is actually more harmful, and a dedicated SPF must be worn.

Here’s a few of our favourite SPF’s;

Kiehl’s – Ultra Light Daily UV Defence SPF 50 €36.90

CLARINS UV + SPF 50 €38.00

CLINIQUE Super City Block SPF40 40ml €24.00

Image: UnSplash.com