Yes, you should still be applying sunscreen in the winter

We usually associate sunscreen with beach days, 90-degree weather and blaring heat—not skiing, freezing temperatures or snowfall. But does that mean that you can skimp out on sunscreen in the winter?

The answer is no! Even when it's not sunny (or when you're staying inside), applying sunscreen is *key* for protecting your skin from harmful UV rays.

Clouds ≠ protection

There are three types of ultraviolet rays that come from the sun: UVA, UVB and UVC rays. UVA and UVB rays (which make up most of the UV radiation that reaches us on Earth's surface) increase the risk of skin aging and skin cancer. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), UVB rays are more harmful and can sunburn you even on cloudy days. Avoiding exposure to sunlight is recommended in the winter, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when UV rays are strongest.

UV rays can reach inside

Anyone else love bundling up with a blanket, hot choco and Netflix on lazy winter days? Just make sure you're including sunscreen in your winter self-care routine! UVA rays pass through glass (especially non-tinted and non-UV-coated glass), so your skin may still be exposed even when you're inside your bedroom. Take note if your bedroom desk is right by a window!

Snow is *extra* reflective

If you're going on a ski vacay with your family this winter break, don't forget to pack sunscreen for you and the fam. The World Health Organization (WHO) highly recommends UV protective measures if you're partaking in activities like skiing (or snowball fights), because fresh snow actually reflects UV rays, almost *doubling* UV exposure. You can still go make that snowman or learn snowboarding tricks, ofc—just properly protect your skin beforehand.

How to protect your skin

Beauty of Joseon, $18

So how can you shield your skin from harmful UV rays? Along with physically covering skin with clothes, always apply sunscreen (of at *least* SPF 30) 20 minutes before going outside. Don't forget to apply on all exposed skin, including the face, neck and body. Take a quick break from ice skating or sledding to reapply every two hours—set reminders on your phone if you need to! For a lightweight sunscreen with a moisturizer-like consistency, we *love* the Beauty of Joseon SPF 50+ sunscreen. For an easy-peasy sunscreen spray that you can use on your body, try the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunscreen Spray.

Check out these posts for more essential skincare tips:
🤍 How to prevent dry skin in the fall
🤍 You *need* these body care products for winter
🤍 These are the best acne treatments (like, ever)

Let us know your sunscreen recs on Twitter @girlslifemag!

All GIFs via GIPHY
Slider & top image: @kaitiyoo

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by Jinny Kim | 1/20/2024