As we are leaving hot summer days in a rearview mirror, leaves are turning, and the days are getting shorter. With shorter days comes less sun, and applying sunscreen might feel counterintuitive. But despite winter’s bleak darkness, UV rays are still very much present year-round. Not to mention the ozone layer, which acts as Earth’s sun-shield, is at its thinnest in winter months.
A quick refresher on UVA and UVB rays:
UVB: Ultraviolet B rays, also called “shortwave”. They are most intense from early spring to early fall and don’t penetrate the skin too deep. UVB causes redness and sunburns, and in severe cases, blistering. Although UVB index is far less in winter, it still can damage your skin, especially at high altitudes or on reflective surfaces like snow or ice.
- UVA: Ultraviolet A rays, or “long wave”. UVA rays, while slightly less intense than UVB, penetrate your skin more deeply. UVA accounts for 95% of UV radiation reaching the Earth and is literally everywhere. It penetrates windows and cloud cover, maintaining the same level of strength throughout the year. UVA rays are responsible for signs of aging, like wrinkles and dark spots, and have been linked to skin cancer.
Even though there are less direct UV rays in the winter, there is a significant reflection of these rays which can still easily cause skin damage. But sun radiation isn't the only thing you should be concerned about in the winter.
Wintertime brings more problems for your skin:
Dry skin, also known as winter itch or winter xerosis. The epidermis (the top layer of skin) reflects the level of humidity around it. Notoriously low indoors and outdoors winter humidity causes it to lose water, resulting in roughness, flaking, itching, cracking, and sometimes a burning sensation.
Blue light, also known as HEV (high-energy visible) light. Although it might be surprising, screentime is hard on your skin. Recent studies show that blue light penetrates deep into our skin, causing premature aging, hyperpigmentation, and age spots.
- Cold. Dermatologists have found that people have more breakouts in the winter. Cold winds deprive your skin of surface lipids (skin’s natural fats), which serve as barriers to keep toxins and dirt out.
So now when you are aware of all the damaging eects winter has on your skin, what’s a person to do? Keep reading to find out.
The perfect solution
Wear sunscreen every day even if you don’t go outside. Experts recommend using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30. It blocks 97% of harmful UV rays. Opt for physical sunscreens - ones with active ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (read our article on chemical and mineral sunscreens).
Our Elemental Sun Balm SPF 30 has all the bases covered. It has Zinc Oxide as an active ingredient so you can stop worrying about those pesky UV rays. To take things further and combat all the culprits of winter skin damage, we packed it full of natural goodness.
- Grapeseed Oil - moisturizes, evens out your skin tone, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Meadowfoam - seals in the moisture.
- Cherry Kernel Oil - infuses your skin with antioxidants, oleic acid, and natural emollients resulting in improvements to dry skin and refinement in large pores.
- Beeswax - creates a protective layer on the skin, moisturizes, soothes irritation.
So there you go. Now you know how to protect your skin from vexing winter problems, keep it radiant and healthy. Put on some Sun Balm, get out there, and enjoy all the wonderful things the season has to offer!