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Do You Need to Wear Sunscreen in the Winter?

Woman outdoors in winter snow

While we may associate sun protection with sunny summer days, the winter sun can be just as harmful to our skin. Despite the chilly temperatures, the sun's rays still pose a risk to skin health and overall well-being. Check out the following tips to see why it's important to protect yourself from the sun in the winter time and keep your skin safe and healthy during the colder months.

UV Rays are still harmful regardless of the season

No matter the weather, UV rays are still damaging to skin cells. This damage can lead to skin cancer, wrinkles, sun spots, and suppress the immune system, making it important to use sunscreen or sun protection all year round. 

Sun can reflect off water, ice and snow, increasing your exposure

Sun protection during winter activities, especially in higher elevations and in places where there is snow or ice, is really important. Whether you're going for a winter walk, hitting the slopes, or simply spending time outside, don't forget to apply sunscreen and cover up. It may feel counterintuitive but the sun’s UV rays are present when it’s cold outside too!

The Earth is closest to the sun during December & July 

Due to the Earth’s elliptical rotation, it is actually closest to the sun during the  months of December & January, making the sun’s rays more intense and very much present. 

The ozone layer is at it’s thinnest during the winter months 

The ozone layer acts as a protective shield in the Earth's atmosphere, safeguarding us from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. During the last 25 years the thickness of the ozone layer has decreased by 5% worldwide and in the Northern Hemisphere it appears to be the thinnest during the winter and spring months.

Think of sunscreen and sun-protective clothing as staples in your winter wardrobe. Apply SPF to all of the exposed bits and layer thicker outerwear over sun-protective clothing when you’re doing something active outside. Giving yourself this added layer shields you not just from the cold weather but from the “wish I wouldas” that show up in the mirror down the line. Then you can go and confidently shine your lovely self all across the winter wonderland! 


Photo by Logan Fisher on Unsplash