Discover why your skin needs sun protection this winter.
It’s tempting to make the most of any sunshine you can find in the chilly winter months, and like many, you might believe that sunscreen isn’t as important when the weather is cooler. In winter, UVB rays from the sun can be weaker than they are in summer. However, the UVA rays which cause wrinkles, premature aging and skin damage are just as strong during the colder months. At KINeSYS, we’re often asked whether sun protection is necessary in winter. In this article, we’ll take a look at why sunscreen is important all year round, especially for those who love staying active.
Should you wear sunscreen in winter?
Whilst UVB rays are weaker during winter, harmful UVA rays are just as strong as they are during summer. Even on overcast and cloudy days, the sun can damage your skin, causing wrinkles and premature aging, and even skin cancer.
During the winter months, many active people love to spend time outdoors and make the most of winter sports like skiing, snowboarding and even mountaineering. Despite the freezing temperatures, sun protection is particularly important when engaging in these outdoor activities.
UV radiation is especially strong in the mountains, as its concentration is increased with altitude.
"With every 1000 meters increase in altitude, UV levels increase by 10% to 12%."
Furthermore, the reflection from snow and ice intensifies the effects of UV radiation by as much as 90 percent.
If you have sensitive skin you know how crucial sun protection is in summer, but it is just as important to be vigilant during winter to protect from the harsh weather and temperatures.
Can you get sunburn from snow?
Yes, as we’ve highlighted above, snow and ice can increase the effects of UV radiation by reflecting UV rays and intensifying their effects. Paired with the higher concentration of UV radiation at altitude, sun exposure in the snow can be as harmful as that you’d expect on a sunny summer’s day at the beach.
The mistaken belief that the sun’s rays are less harmful due to being less intense in winter leads to many winter sportspeople experiencing sunburn after spending time in the snow.
TOP TIP: Whether you’re competing at a professional level or simply enjoying spending time in the outdoors during winter, sun protection is incredibly important when spending time in the snow.
Should I wear sunscreen daily?
Whether you’re planning on heading outside for a short time, or you’re participating in winter sports for hours each day, sun protection should be a part of your everyday routine.
Even small amounts of sun exposure can build to cause a cumulative damaging impact on your skin. Premature aging, wrinkles and even skin cancer can result even from short periods of sun exposure, even in winter.
Even in cloudy weather, the sun can be harmful to your skin, so no matter what you’re getting up to in the outdoors, it’s important to protect your skin each time you head outside.
Which sunscreen is best for winter?
If you’re active outdoors during the winter, your considerations when choosing a sunscreen should be similar to those you’d use in summer. It’s important to ensure that you’re using a high level of SPF, like SPF 30, and that your sunscreen is water and sweat resistant.
Also choose a sunscreen that’s kind to your skin, rubs in clear and doesn’t cause a reflection at high altitudes (which can interfere with visibility). KINeSYS SPF 30 Clear Zinc is a great outdoor winter sports sunscreen, as it goes on white – making it easy to see where it’s been applied – and rubs in clear. Its non-reflective mineral formula is also 100% mineral and lightly scented with natural preservatives peppermint and rosemary, making it kind to sensitive skin.
Another excellent option is the KINeSYS range of spray sunscreens. Suitable for face and body, the pump sprays are easy to apply, are clear on the skin and non-comedogenic – meaning they don’t block your pores and will let your skin breathe. Available in SPF 30 and SPF 50, fragrance-free and scented variations including Vanilla-Green Tea Sunscreen and Mango Scented Sunscreen, all KINeSYS spray sunscreen are oil-free, alcohol-free and free of parabens, PABAs, preservatives and Oxybenzone.
How to apply sunscreen in winter
- Before heading out to participate in winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding, be sure to apply your sunscreen to all exposed areas, including your lips.
- The lips don’t produce melanin, and therefore aren’t able to protect themselves against harmful UV rays. (We suggest choosing a product specifically for the lips with an SPF of at least SPF 15.)
- Choose a non-oily sunscreen and apply to all exposed skin including face, lips, ears and hands at least 20 minutes before heading outdoors.
- Remember that UV is reflected by snow and ice so it’s important to protect under the chin and nostrils from UV exposure.
- If you’re using a mineral sunscreen such as the KINeSYS SPF 30 Clear Zinc, there’s no need to wait 20 minutes, as it will be effective immediately.
It’s also worth noting that sun exposure can happen indoors. UV rays can penetrate both cloud cover and glass, so whether you’re sitting inside near the windows of the ski lodge on a cloudy day, or are outside enjoying the snow, it’s important to protect your skin.
Be sure to reapply your sunscreen a maximum of every 2 hours of hours or if you’re sweating choose a sweat resistant sunscreen and reapply every 80 minutes.
KINeSYS SPF 30 Clear Zinc is sweat and water resistant for up to 80 minutes.
Our sports sunscreens also come in handy travel-sized packaging. Our Spray Sunscreens are available in 30ml size fit easily into your backpack or your pocket, meaning you’ll never need to head outside without your winter sun protection.
So while it's tempting to dispense with the sunscreen in winter, it is important that you protect your skin. Wear a sunscreen you love and trust, your skin will love you for it!