Do You Need Sun Protection in Winter?
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What’s not to love about travelling in the winter? 23% of Americans actually prefer winter travel over summer vacations! You can choose the mountains and powdery snow. Head South for a warm-but-not-stifling beach. Or maybe overseas, where European cities offer a magical glow and fewer tourists.
What do all of these locations have in common? Well, winter destinations – wherever they are – still have sunshine and UV rays. And because the weather’s cooler, it’s easy to believe that sun damage is less risky.
But the total effect over months and years, of forgetting winter sun protection, can lead to premature aging or, even worse, skin cancer.
Celebrity esthetician and sun protection expert Ian Michael Crumm says, “Most people think of major sun-filled moments like a beach trip as the time where skin gets damaged, but cumulative, unprotected exposure can have more impact on skin health.”
Why don’t we wear sunscreen in winter?
According to a recent study, 58% of people admit to only using sunscreen during summertime, and 61% rarely or never use sunscreen on cloudy days, regardless of time of year.1 That’s despite a survey by the American Academy of Dermatology, showing that 82% of people care more about protecting their skin from the sun, than they did just 5 years ago.2
Sunscreen and sun clothing are pretty common nowadays in hot summer weather – but we don’t take the same precautions when temps are cooler.
Part of it is simply because we miss the “cue” of a powerful sun. In summertime, when you feel your skin heating up, it’s a quick reminder to get in shade or put on more coverage. In winter situations, you might appreciate some sunny warmth, and forget the sun’s harmful UV ray effects.
Ian cautions that sun education hasn’t focused on year-round protection. “We’ve been taught to 'cover-up' from cold and be careful in hot summer sun, but not to think #ProtectedSkinWins 365 days a year. I always tell my clients unless it’s dark outside, aka night, then put sunscreen on. Cloudy days too!”
This is where NAKED Sunshield is incredibly convenient - lightweight and in easily packable pouches, it travels anywhere, ready to protect all year long.
What’s the sun risk in winter, compared to summer?
Both UV-A and UV-B rays contribute to skin damage, and any UV damage, summer or winter, can lead to skin cancer or premature aging.
Here are some good facts to know and share:
- Is the sun weaker in the winter? UV-B rays are strongest in summer, but UV-A rays are the same year-round, and UV-A rays penetrate more deeply.3
- For skiers and snow hounds, 80% of the sun’s UV light can be reflected by snow, and that means almost twice the UV absorption and damage.4
- Even on a cool, cloudy day, 80% of UV rays can pass through clouds.5
- And weirdly, the right conditions can create “a phenomenon called ‘cloud enhancement’ when clouds…can scatter and reflect UV radiation, potentially increasing the UV Index.”6
What’s the easiest way to check the UV index, even in winter? Your smartphone’s weather app can show daily UV index for your location – or wherever you’re planning to travel. Other apps, including the UV Index Widget Worldwide and the EPA’s SunWise UV Index app, even show hourly detail.
Enjoy the winter vacations. Bring back that great shirt you found or a toy for the kids. And definitely bring back a ton of amazing memories. But the best souvenir is sun-protected skin, because it truly lasts a lifetime!