Your Guide to Sunscreen in Winter
Don’t be fooled by the lower temperatures and shorter, darker days—UV radiation still poses a very real risk during winter. UVA rays in particular are ever-present, meaning that if you’re concerned with ageing (and who isn’t?) a high-SPF, broad-spectrum sunscreen should remain the hero of your daily skincare routine.
To avoid the premature onset of fine lines and sun spots today and in the future, read on. This is your comprehensive guide to sunscreen in winter.
UV Radiation Is An Everyday Reality
Many people believe you can’t get sunburnt when the weather is cool or overcast, and therefore skip the sunscreen step during winter. This is a risky practice, however, as the sun emits damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation all year round, and its effects—even from incidental exposure—are cumulative.
The World Health Organization’s Ultra Violet Radiation Index (UVI) classifies UV radiation on a scale from 0 (low) to 11+ (extreme), with health professionals recommending sun protection for levels of 3 or above. UV radiation cannot be measured by air temperature and levels continue to reach upwards of 3 in many parts of Australia during winter1.
In light of recent research presented at this year’s Sunscreen Summit, a new policy for sun safety was issued. Medical and public health experts are now recommending sunscreen be applied daily as part of your morning routine, not just prior to outdoor activity3.
Ageing UVA Rays Are Present 365 Days A Year
If the risk of skin cancer hasn’t made you vigilant about sun protection, consider this—UVA radiation is the leading cause of premature ageing, and it’s just as strong in winter. Much more prevalent than UVB, UVA rays in fact account for approximately 95% of UV radiation reaching the earth’s surface2.
While UVB rays are known to cause sunburn and put you at risk of melanoma, UVA radiation causes cellular damage that leads to premature wrinkles and loss in skin laxity, while also increasing your risk of pigmentation and skin cancer1. Unlike an immediately visible sunburn, the longer-term damage caused by UVA radiation can take years to appear, as UVA rays penetrates to the deepest layers of the skin. Which means? Prevention from UVA today is vital for a more youthful complexion tomorrow.
UVA Rays Can Pass Through Clouds AND Glass
Think you’re protected because you’re cooped up inside for most of the day? Well, that might not be entirely true. UVA rays are present—and relatively constant—every day of year, and they are able to penetrate through clouds as well as glass. Meaning if your desk is next to a window, or you spend a lot of time driving, you shouldn’t forget a high-level, broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect you from unwanted pigmentation and fine lines. And the same goes for cloudy days with a low UV index.
And You Still Need to Beware of UVB
While it’s true UVB rays tend to be weaker during winter than the searing heat of summer, they can still cause sunburn—especially on the slopes. Reflecting off snow and ice, they’re at their most dangerous at high altitudes on sunny days. So, take extra care with applying and reapplying sunscreen on your winter snow trip.
So, Where Does Sunscreen Fit In Your Winter Skincare Routine?
With UV radiation ever-present, the easy way to minimise photo-ageing and reduce skin cancer risk is with daily application of a high-SPF, broad-spectrum sunscreen. Here’s how to incorporate sunscreen seamlessly into your winter skincare routine.
Step 1: Add Antioxidant Protection With Pure Vitamin C
A powerful anti-ageing ingredient, Vitamin C is beloved for its ability to promote a brighter, plumper, more hydrated complexion. This potent antioxidant also helps to reduce visible signs of ageing by protecting the skin against free radical damage, of which UV exposure can be a cause.
Formulated for sensitive skin, La Roche-Posay Redermic Vitamin C10 Serum boasts 10% pure Vitamin C in its most assimilative, effective and well-tolerated form. Combined with Salicylic acid and Neurosensine™, it helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while boosting radiance. Use morning and/or night.
Step 2: Nourish Dry, Sensitive Skin
During winter, the low humidity, cold winds and artificial heating can lead to an increase in skin sensitivity and reactivity. Therefore, those with dry, sensitive skin will often benefit from changing to a more nourishing moisturiser, such as Toleriane Ultra.
With a rich, hydrating texture, La Roche-Posay’s minimal formula daily moisturiser is ideal for tackling winter dryness, and prepares the skin for your chosen sun protection product. Suitable for use morning and night, it’s formulated with Neurosensine™ and La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water to provide long-lasting comfort for ultra-sensitive and allergy-prone skin.
Step 3: Protect Against Premature Ageing
To help prevent pigmentation, sun damage and premature ageing, sunscreen is the next step in your morning skincare routine. Apply Anthelios XL Ultra-Light Fluid Sunscreen SPF 50+ to clean, dry skin OR following your serum and/or moisturiser (apply products from the lightest texture to the heaviest). Formulated for sensitive skin prone to sun intolerance, Ultra-Light is non-greasy, non-comedogenic and fragrance-free. Comfortable to wear with an invisible finish, it will fit perfectly into a morning skincare routine for those with normal to combination skin. For those with oily and acne-prone skin, Anthelios XL Anti-Shine Dry Touch SPF 50+ contains anti-sweat molecule Airlicium to deliver a matte, lightweight finish. Meanwhile, those with dry, sensitive skin or eyes will enjoy the nourishing effects of Anthelios ULTRA Cream SPF 50+.
Worried that applying moisturiser underneath your sunscreen will decrease its efficacy? You needn’t be concerned. Rest assured that chemical UV filters are not negatively impacted by the use of moisturiser. As long as you allow the moisturiser sufficient time to absorb before applying sunscreen, it will not affect the efficacy of your sunscreen.
Step 4: Unify And Correct The Complexion
If you wear make-up each day, this should be applied following sunscreen. To prevent your foundation pilling, make sure you allow enough time—a few minutes will usually suffice—for your sunscreen to settle before applying make-up. To shop the Anthelios range and stay protected all year round, view our list of stockists. Or visit the website to learn more about La Roche-Posay's sun care range.
ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE. Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before sun exposure. Sunscreen is only one part of sun protection so wear protective clothing and seek shade. Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, towelling and perspiring in accordance with directions.
1 Cancer Council
2 World Health Organization
3 Cancer Council