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 Ultraviolet 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 winter*.
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 activity**.
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 surface*.
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.
UV 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.
UVB RADIATION AT THE SNOW
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.
Snow is highly reflective. The UV rays reflect off fresh white snow in addition to standard exposure to UV radiation directly from the sun. Additionally at higher altitudes, the atmosphere is thinner, meaning it filters less UV radiation resulting in an increased risk of sun damage.
So, take care on your winter snow trip with these tips:
- Apply SPF 50+ sunscreen and reapply every 2 hours. Don’t forget those areas such as under the chin and behind your ears. Scattered UV rays reflect from all snow-covered surfaces, so you’re exposed to UV radiation from all angles.
- If your lips need extra care in winter, try the Cicaplast Lip Balm which hydrates and creates a protective barrier.
- Aim to stop for a meal or a break during the middle part of the day when the sun is at its strongest.
- Protect your skin and eyes as much as you can by wearing a jacket, gloves and wraparound sunglasses or goggles.
WHERE DOES SUNSCREEN FIT INTO
YOUR WINTER SKIN CARE 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.
Some people eschew daily sunscreen wear because they dislike the heavy or oily sensation of some products. Therefore, finding the right sunscreen – one that is comfortable, invisible, and tailored to your skin type – is a crucial first step in your winter skincare regime.
Optimal comfort for each skin type, as well as the highest level of UV protection, is at the heart of La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios range for sensitive skin. Non-comedogenic and dermatologist-tested, all sunscreens can be worn summer through winter, and are also available in sheer and tinted formulas to suit differing coverage requirements.
Here’s how to incorporate sunscreen seamlessly into your winter skincare routine.
STEP 1: 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, 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 Thermal Spring Water to provide long-lasting comfort for ultra-sensitive and allergy-prone skin.
STEP 3: PROTECT AGAINST PREMATURE AGEING WITH SUNSCREEN IN WINTER
To help prevent pigmentation, sun damage and premature ageing, sunscreen is the next step in your morning skincare routine all year ‘round.
Apply sunscreen to clean, dry skin OR following your serum and/or moisturiser (apply products from the lightest texture to the heaviest).
- For normal to combination sensitive skin, Anthelios XL Ultra Light SPF50+ is an instantly absorbed, non-greasy, non-comedogenic and fragrance-free sunscreen fluid. It is also formulated with Thermal Spring Water and is comfortable to wear with an invisible finish.
- 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, non-greasy, non-comedogenic, lightweight finish.
- Sensitive dry skin, in particular, needs extra TLC during winter, when humidity is low, and dryness is exacerbated by artificial heating and cold winds. This skin type will benefit from a more nourishing creamy sunscreen formulation such as Anthelios Ultra Facial Sunscreen SPF 50+. This sunscreen protects and moisturises drier skin, without clogging pores or leaving any white marks.
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: APPLY MAKEUP AFTER SUNSCREEN
If you wear makeup 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.
View the Anthelios range and stay protected in winter and all year ‘round.
1Cook BE Jr, Bartley GB. Treatment options and future prospects for the management of eyelid malignancies: an evidence-based update. Ophthalmology 2001 Nov; 108(11):2088-98
ADD SUN PROTECTION TO YOUR WINTER SKINCARE ROUTINE
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