Do you really need to wear sunscreen in the winter? Or on cloudy days?
There are many misconceptions about sunscreens, and you may see different answers on different websites.
But when it comes to skin aging and protecting your skin from wrinkles, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation, sunscreen is crucial every day of the year.
This post will explain why you should wear sunscreen even when you think you don’t need to. From an anti-aging perspective.
This is what I’ll cover:
- Why you should wear sunscreen in the winter
- Why you should wear sunscreen on cloudy days
- Do you need sunscreen after 5 pm or 6 pm?
- Best sunscreen in winter
*Please note, this post contains affiliate links, and I may receive a small commission if you purchase through any of those links. It doesn’t cost you any extra and I only recommend products I truly love and use myself. You can read my full disclosure here.
Why you should wear sunscreen in the winter
The two kinds of UV-rays that hit the earth are UVA and UVB. UVB will not be present in the wintertime if you live far from the equator. But UVA will. And UVA happens to be the worst enemy when it comes to skin aging.
UVA-rays do not cause immediate sun damage (does not burn your skin) and may therefore seem harmless. But instead, these rays go deep (much deeper than UVB) and cause collagen-destroying free radicals in your dermis. Leading to wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation issues, and even increased risk for skin cancer.
In other words. As long as you’re exposed to the sun, you’re also exposed to skin-damaging UV-rays. Regardless of how far from the equator you are.
Also, remember that if you happen to spend time in high altitudes, the UV-rays are even more intense.
Why you should wear sunscreen on cloudy days
It may be tempting to assume that you don’t need sunscreen when the sunlight isn’t exactly hitting your face. When there are too many clouds in the sky to even expose the sun.
Well, unfortunately, the UV-rays go through the clouds and will hit your skin, even if you won’t feel the heat.
The clouds do filter out some of the UVB exposure. But the UVA-rays will pass through with ease. And as explained above, UVA-rays are what causes the most damage to your skin when it comes to aging.
So whether it’s summer or winter, cloudy sky or not. Always apply sunscreen on the parts of your body that you want to protect from skin aging.
Do you need sunscreen after 5 pm or 6 pm?
The UVB-rays (the rays that cause sunburn) will be most intense from 11 am to 3 pm. From there, it will drop and become much less intensive.
UVA on the other hand does not drop that much in intensity. And since UVA is what causes premature skin aging, you will therefore need sunscreen as long as the sun is present.
Tip: See my in-dept post about sunscreens for anti aging to learn more about sun and skin health.
Best sunscreen for winter
The best sunscreen to use for wintertime is one with high UVA protection. A high SPF only indicates the protection from UVB, but not UVA.
Therefore you need to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is especially high in UVA. Which is not the easiest thing to find out.
An ingredient that is effective in blocking UVA is zinc oxide. So if you have sunscreen products that have zinc oxide as a main ingredient, you will have good protection.
Zinc oxide also gives a good protection against blue light. Which is shown to have some negative effects on the skin as well.
If you live in the US I recommend Elta MD sports sun protection. It mixes zinc oxide with chemical filters to provide high and long-lasting protection. I find it to be one of the best sunscreens for skin cancer prevention and anti aging. Since it has high SPF AND high UVA protection.
And it is also very water-resistant, easy to apply, and suited for sensitive skin types. You find it on Dermstore on this link (if you want a sunscreen that has 100 % mineral sun protection, this product is a good option).
If you live in Europe you’re quite lucky. Because there is one sunscreen that is even better. The Evy daily defense sunscreen mousse (SPF 50).
Evy does not contain zinc oxide. But instead, it has a patented formula with ingredients that are proven to give extremely high protection against UVA. It will also stay in your top skin layer and give protection for up to 8 hours.
This mousse is also enriched with antioxidants that are proven to protect against blue light.
You find Evy at Face the Future here.
- UVA-rays are present all day long, every day of the year. Regardless of how far from the equator you live. And regardless if the sky is cloudy or not.
- UVA-rays are the most damaging rays when it comes to skin aging. Since they go deep into the dermis.
- Wearing sunscreen with high protection against UVA daily, will save you from many wrinkles, fine lines, and disrupted skin tone over time. It will also help to protect you from skin cancers.
I hope you got your questions answered. If you want to ask me anything else about wearing sunscreen, let me know in the comments below.
Also remember, that even the best sunscreen won’t be able to protect you completely from all the damaging UV-rays. A hot tip is therefore to complement your sunscreen with a defense from within. And that can be achived by eating the right type of foods.
I have an in-depth article about the carotenoids. A certain type of antioxidants that are proven to help you preserve youthful skin. And one of the reasons is their sun protecting properties.
If you want a shorter version about the carotenoids, and some general diet tips for younger skin, I recommend this post instead.
Until next time, love your skin!