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Winter & Sunscreen - Why It's a Must

by kelly / December, 18 2013 01:30
winter sunset with mountains and block island organics logo

With winter around the corner many of us put the sunscreen in the medicine cabinet until spring. Well, I'm here to let you know why sunblock should be part of your skin repertoire winter, spring, summer and fall. Let's take a deeper look at winter.

UV Rays Are Present Year-Round

One of the basic reasons to wear sunscreen year-round is that UVA rays are the same strength no matter what time of year. Yes, the sun may not be out as much but when it is, the UVA is still beating down on you. UVA rays do not cause sunburn as much (that's mostly pesky UVB rays) but they do cause skin damage, skin cancer and premature aging.

Further, while UVB rays are not as strong in the winter, they are still prevalent as anyone who's gotten a sunburn while skiing knows.

If you want to know more about UVA and UVB rays, check out our article "UVA, UVB and UVC Rays: What They Are and How Sunscreen Protects You".

Snow Burns - Yes It Can For Skin...

Another factor is sun rays reflecting off the snow and ice. So you are out playing in the snow on a nice sunny day and you're getting double the exposure. Once from the rays raining down from above and a second from the snow reflecting them back at you. Talk about a recipe for sunburn and skin aging.

UV Exposure Happens Daily - Even in Winter

One excuse we often hear is folks say they are not outside during the winter. It may be true that the cold weather keeps you indoors more, but everyone still heads outside whether it's for a walk, a commute to work or errands around town.

Plus, if you're sitting by a window you'll get sun exposure too as glass is not enough to keep the harmful rays away. Need proof? Take a look at our article "Sunscreen Prevents Skin Aging New Research Shows" where you'll see a photo of a trucker whose left side was exposed to the sun for years through the driver side window. A dramatic difference I'd say.

Sun Is the Main Cause of Wrinkles & Skin Cancer

Beyond that, all the sun exposure issues associated with summer are also prevalent in winter (and the other seasons too). Things such as the sun's effects being cumulative over your lifetime - so you don't want to use sunblock just some of the time, but all of the time. Or that sun exposure is the major cause of both skin aging and skin cancer. Just take a look at what Wolverine star Hugh Jackman recently said about his skin cancer and using sunscreen.

Your lifetime of sun exposure is responsible for 90% of skin aging (wrinkles, lines, looking older) and 90% of nonmelanoma skin cancer according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Wrapping It Up

Ok, I don't mean to scare you with all this. Rather, I just want to let everyone know that using sunscreen throughout the year is a good idea. So if you want to keep your skin looking youthful and want to ward off skin cancer make sure you wear sunblock every day all year long.

For more info check out our articles on skin aging and skin cancer.

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