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Do I Need to Wear Sunscreen in Winter?

If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’re a skincare buff and already know the importance of wearing sunscreen to protect your skin from sun damage. If that’s the case, kudos to you! But, did you know just how crucial it is to wear during the winter months, too? While it might feel odd to slather on sunscreen when it’s below zero outside and you haven’t set foot on a beach in months, the reality is the sun is present no matter the season (unless, say, you live at thee North Pole), so wearing SPF year-round is a must.

Just take it from board-certified dermatologist Marisa Garshick, M.D.

“Sunscreen is recommended all year, including in the winter months, because UV rays are still present on cloudy, cold, rain, and snowy days,” says Dr. Garshick.

You might be thinking: But I’m barely even going outside in the winter. Do I really still need it?

Yes. The answer is still yes.

“Even if you find yourself spending more time indoors during the winter months, it is still important to remember sunscreen,” says Dr. Garshick. “Especially if you are sitting near a window because UV-A rays, which are responsible for premature signs of aging, are still able to penetrate through window glass.”

It’s worth noting that wearing sunscreen outside after it’s snowed—or while engaging in winter sports like skiing—is extra important because UV rays reflect off the snow, thereby increasing the risk of sunburn.

“Wearing sunscreen helps to protect the skin against signs of sun damage including fine lines, wrinkles, brown spots, and skin laxity, as well as skin cancer,” says Dr. Garshick, who recommends wearing broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher on a daily basis to ensure adequate protection.

Pro tip: Opt for a more hydrating sunscreen formula during the winter to help offset the skin-drying effects of winter, like exposure to central heat, wind, and the lack of humidity, Dr. Garshick recommends formulas that contain both hydrating and soothing ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and niacinamide.

Regardless of the season or how often you’re going outside, slathering on sunscreen daily (and reapplying every two hours) is non-negotiable. You’ll thank yourself later.

Written by Kaleigh Fasanella for Youth To The People
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