SPF Matters More For Your Skin In The Colder Months — Here’s Why

sunscreen in the winter

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When temperatures begin to drop and you start feeling like you’re living in a hazy gray snowglobe, your sunscreen routine is one of the first remnants of summer you ditch until brighter days arrive. But when you cut SPF out of your winter skincare regimen, you’re taking some major risks.

According to Dr. Jacqueline Schaffer, a beauty and wellness expert, best-selling author and founder of clean beauty brand Schique, wearing sunscreen is actually more important in the colder months than in the heat of summer for one critical reason. UV rays make their way to your skin via reflection, and a lot of that reflection is due to your natural environment. Wintry scenes — think piles of super white, glistening snow or cloudy skies that still feel so bright that you have to squint when you walk outside — are highly reflective of the sun’s harmful rays. In fact, they reflect up to 90 percent of UV rays, when beachy setups of beige sand and blue water only reflect up to 20 percent of those same rays.

So no matter what you do, the concentration of your exposure is far higher in the wintertime than in the summertime, and skimping on the sunscreen makes that exposure so much worse. Dr. Schaffer explained to us that UVA rays specifically penetrate very deeply into the skin, and they’re responsible for common signs of aging like wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. So if you decide to skip the SPF all winter long, you’re prematurely aging your skin much faster than you probably realize.

sunscreen in the winter


According to Dr. Schaffer, 80 percent of your physical appearance is based on environmental factors, while only 20 percent stems from your genetics. So if you don’t take the steps in your daily life to acknowledge how you relate to your environment, your skin health will likely suffer.

Luckily, there’s a super easy solution here. Just keep wearing that SPF 30 all winter long! Add a layer on top of your morning moisturizer to keep your skin happy, hydrated and protected from any elements you may come across. (Don’t forget your lips, too.) It doesn’t matter if you’re a ski instructor in Aspen or an office worker in midtown Manhattan — if you take care of your skin now, it’s going to look and feel so much healthier years down the road.


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