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We need to talk: protecting your skin with SPF shouldn’t be reserved for days spent seaside or hours picnicking in the park—and definitely not just during the summer season. Such selective sun protection isn’t enough to keep sun damage and premature signs of aging (i.e. dark spots and fine lines and wrinkles) at bay. The truth is, you should make wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen (or moisturizer with SPF) part of your daily skin care routine 365 days a year, whether it’s a full-blown snowstorm outside or a perfectly sunny day. In fact, you may need even more sun protection in the winter than you think. To find out why and learn all our best SPF tips to add to your winter skin care routine, keep reading.
Even when the sun is nowhere in sight, it can reach your skin. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, UVA rays—which are present with relatively equal intensity during all daylight hours throughout the year—can penetrate through clouds. Additionally, snow actually increases the need for sunscreen because, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), it reflects the sun’s rays. So, there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain by wearing SPF during all twelve months of the year!
Stay safe from the sun all winter long with these tips.
Don’t wait until the very last minute to tackle sun protection. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends applying sunscreen 30 minutes before you go outside, in order to have enough time for it to provide the maximum benefit.
You wouldn’t step foot outside during the winter without multiple layers—a coat, a sweater, a scarf, etc. etc.—and it’s a good idea to do the same with your SPF. Start your winter skin care routine by applying facial moisturizer with SPF, immediately after cleansing. Try the L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Bright Reveal Brightening Day Moisturizer SPF 30. Once you have that layer on, you can follow with makeup products formulated with SPF, like foundation and face powder.
Applying SPF in the winter isn’t simply about protecting your face. Even if you bundle up, other areas of your skin will be exposed and require just as much protection. Be sure to apply SPF not only to your face, but also to your ears, lips (use a conditioning lip balm with SPF), neck, and chest, plus, the tops of your hands if you’re not wearing gloves.
Don’t think you’re safe if you spend most of your time inside during the winter. The FDA confirms that the sun’s UVA rays can penetrate through glass. So, if you find yourself cuddled up and peering out at a beautiful snowscape or working beside a window, you still need to apply SPF.
Applying sunscreen is not a one and done activity. According to the Mayo Clinic, sunscreen should be reapplied at least every two hours. And don’t forget to reload your SPF if you happen to work up a sweat. Even though it’s cold outside, there’s still the potential to sweat while outdoors during the winter months, especially if you’re sporting a heavy coat and winter accessories. (Here’s How to Reapply Sunscreen.)
If you’re spending an afternoon or weekend on the slopes be sure to pack a pair of snow goggles or sunglasses that offer UV protection. Not only does the vulnerable skin surrounding your eyes need protection, but so do your actual eyes!
Sun care and self-tanning are forever intertwined, so we can’t leave you without a reminder not to try and tan in a tanning bed. With your summer glow long gone, it may be tempting, but you’ll be better off using a self-tanner. Try the L'Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Water Mousse for a lightweight, natural-looking tan.
Next up: 9 Beauty Hacks to Add to Your Winter Skin Care Routine