Has your sunscreen sat unused on your bathroom counter for the last month? It’s winter, you think. Not much need for it now, right?
Wrong. Even in the winter months, it is still important to use sunscreen daily and here’s why.
1. Your perceived intensity of the sun does not indicate your sun exposure.
Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey pointed out that there are two kinds of ultraviolet rays emitted from the sun: UVA and UVB. UVB rays are the ones that cause sunburn and their intensity varies from summer to winter. However, UVA rays have the same intensity during summer or winter.
UVA rays are the ones that penetrate deeper in your skin and can cause skin aging and skin cancer to occur. UVA damage is not reversible. Wearing sunscreen can protect you from exposure to these rays.
2. Just because it is cloudy outside, that doesn’t mean you are not getting exposed to UV rays.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, up to 80 percent of the sun's UV rays can pass through clouds, reported CNN. This is how people end up getting sunburn on cloudy days when they have been outside without sunscreen.
And if you go skiing during winter, snow can reflect up to 80 percent of the UV rays, which increases your exposure. UV radiation is also higher at higher elevations.
3. Even though you think you are protected from winter sun in your car, the sun’s UV rays still penetrate glass.
Glass is able to filter out UVB rays but not UVA rays. UVA rays can still get through and penetrate your skin. Some people find the side of their face that is exposed to the sun while driving gets more tan or freckles than the non-driver’s side if they have not been wearing sunscreen.
4. You really do get enough vitamin D in winter, even if you wear sunscreen.
It only takes small amounts of sun exposure to get enough daily vitamin D. Sunscreen does not block 100 percent of the sun’s rays.