It’s the age-old question, do you need sunscreen in winter?
And the answer is…
You need sunscreen whenever the UV rating is over 3, and the UV rating is over 3 in most parts of Australia all year long. Living outside of Australia? Or maybe you don’t believe us? Here is a snippet from a GQ Magazine grooming article 'Wear Sunscreen All Winter and Your Skin Will Actually Age More Slowly';
‘You'd conclude that sun damage results from direct exposure, right? By that logic, you’re especially safe from the sun’s skin-aging effects during those cloudier, grayer days of winter…right?
Wrong, says Carly Roman, dermatologist at MD in Seattle. “Most people want to ease up on sunscreen use during the winter, as the sun feels weaker and they are less likely to burn.” But that's a mistake. Roman notes that only one of the two UV perpetrators, UVB, is actually lessened by clouds and winter. The other, UVA, is very much present year-round.’ ADAM HURLYGQ Magazine.
And the worst part about winter sun, although you may not feel a burn, you’re being exposed to those nasty ‘unfelt’ UVA rays. UVAs are the rays that penetrate deep (deeper than UVB) into the skin, causing havoc on almost every layer of your skin. UVAs are responsible for collagen degeneration, fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, sunspots and, yes, they’re also a key contributor when it comes to skin cancer. UVA rays can also penetrate glass and clouds.
You can read our blog on the difference between UVAs & UVBs here.So what does this mean?
If you’re based in or north of Margaret River, Adelaide or Sydney the chances of the UV rating reaching 3 on most days of the year is quite high and once it hits 3, it takes between 8-10 minutes for sun damage to occur.
And if you’re sitting below those areas don’t be so quick to write off sunscreen in winter, those UVAs are still around causing premature aging. Oh, and there will still be several days, especially on those glorious sunny winter days, that it does reach a UV rating of 3 or more. So we suggest keeping your eye on the UV Index (there’s a link to monitor the UV index in our Instagram bio).
Heading to the snow?
‘UV radiation intensity increases by about 10–12% for every 1000 metre increase in altitude. Snow is highly reflective. On a sunny day, clean fresh snow can reflect up to 90% of UV radiation. This means that you can be exposed to almost a double dose of UV – directly from the sun and reflected off snow-covered surfaces.’ SunSmart.com.au