Do I Need Sunscreen in the Winter?
Ultraviolet (UV) light causes skin cancer. Certainly, most of us get less sunlight in the winter as the days are shorter and colder temperatures keep us indoors. So why apply sunscreen in the winter?
UV & Blue Light
Damaging UV rays are all around us and not just from the sun. Fluorescent lighting has been shown to increase lifetime ultraviolet (UV) exposure by 3% based on the distance the lamp is from the skin. If the lamp is close – particularly desk lamps, bed lamps, and overhead lamps – the light and heat emitted can worsen certain skin ailments. Heat is now a known exacerbating factor in melasma, the dark blotchy patches that appear on the face. Electronic devices like our cell phones and computers emit blue light, a portion of the visible light spectrum. Blue light is known to create and darken spots that are a tell-tale sign of aging. Consider that next time you plop down in front of your screen.
Winter Skin Damage
As cold as it may get in the winter, the sun is still out. Ultraviolet (UV) A rays from the sun pass directly through clouds and windows. Over 80% of UVA rays pass right on through what many think is a barrier. Have you ever gotten a little too much sun on a cloudy day? UVA rays are what cause the visible signs of aging such as wrinkles and dark spots. The result of this extra little bit everyday of UV light on the left than the right is very evident after many years on the road. Many studies have demonstrated a higher incidence of skin cancer in the US on the left side of the face and arms, the drivers’ side.
UVA rays are what cause skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. One in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70. This makes skin cancer the most common type of cancer in the USA.
Preventing Skin Damage During the Winter with Sunscreen
How can you prevent your skin from aging and reduce your risk of skin cancer? Outside of your age in years, nothing ages your skin more than exposure to ultraviolet light. Therefore, prevention is critical.
To protect your skin from this harmful light, wear sunscreen every day, even if you are not planning to spend time outdoors. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30. Remember, even if it’s too cold to go out, rainy, or cloudy, your skin still needs protection.
The younger you are when you start protecting your skin against UV light, the better. Get in good habits now and teach your children to do the same. Nothing looks more beautiful in your 50s than sunscreen in your 20s!
Looking for more expert tips on how to protect your skin? Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @georgedermatology. Plus, stop in for a visit! George Dermatology offers an array of daily facial sunscreens in elegant moisturizes that make it easy to apply and a joy to use, knowing you will look younger than your years. You don’t need an appointment to pick up a tube of our favorite products to protect your skin. Come by today! We are happy to assist you in finding the right one for your skin.