By Suramya Jain

Why is Sunscreen Important During Winters?

One might wonder, why bother with sunscreen in winter, anyway? It’s cooler out, so you shouldn’t have to worry about sunburns or photodamage, right?

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.

Here are the reasons you must wear sunscreen in winters:

  1. Snow Reflection- You may feel like you don’t need to wear sunscreen for the winter months, but snow can reflect up to 90% of the sun’s UV rays intensifying the sunlight you are getting and scorching parts of your face and body that don’t normally see the sun (nostrils, under your chin, etc.)
  2. UV Radiation- Just like in the summer, it’s important to wear sunscreen on cloudy days too. UVB exposure can be lessened by clouds but the dangers of UVA exposure exist year-round.
  3. Ozone Layer- The Ozone layer is responsible for absorbing much of the damaging rays from the sun, but its thickness is much lower in the winter leading to less protection from Mother Earth, and more sun exposure for your skin.
  4. Altitude- With every 1000 meters increase in altitude, UV levels increase by 10% to 12%. Many winter activities like skiing, ice skating and snowshoeing are performed in the mountains. Higher altitude climates have less of the Earth’s atmosphere to block UV rays, leading to higher UV exposure and more danger for your skin.
  5. Harsh Elements- Cold temperatures combined with wind can be harsh and unforgiving on your skin. It’s important to keep your skin and lips protected by not only using sunscreen to protect them, but also use lotion and lip balm to moisturize and rehydrate them from effects of the elements

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 on a cloudy day, or are outside enjoying the snow, it’s important to protect your skin with a good sunscreen with broad spectrum coverage.