Why we need winter sunscreens

Why we need winter sunscreens


When I saw a sunscreen from Nivea in Europe called Alpin UV, the main thought that crossed my mind was: GENIUS! Then, I immediately wondered why it took so long for a brand to come up with a sunscreen clearly meant for the winter season. And no, not because we need different sunscreens for the winter or for when we go skiing, but for the very important message it sends: you need to apply sunscreen in the winter!

I would almost argue that every skincare brand that produces sunscreens should be required to also have its own line of winter-themed sunscreens, as I doubt there’s a better way to raise awareness overall about the importance of sunscreen, as a product that should be part of everyone’s daily skincare regimen.

Too many people unfortunately still associate the need for sunscreen with going to the beach, but here’s what you need to know:

  1. While cloud cover may block some UV rays, depending on the type of clouds, thickness of the cloud layer, and other factors, it may actually increase the amount of UV radiation reaching the ground, due to reflections in cloud surfaces and scattering (remember that after all clouds are ice crystals and small water droplets)  - briefly said, on some cloudy days you may be exposed to more radiation than on a clear day…crazy, right!?
     
  2. UV radiation levels increase by roughly 10% with every 1000 m (~ 3300 ft) in altitude.
     
  3. Fresh snow reflects almost 80% of UV rays, doubling your exposure to UV radiation.

So make sure you consistently use sunscreen in the winter, and throw a few sunscreens in your suitcase when you go on that ski trip. Don’t forget to grab your eye gear as well, as UV radiation damages your skin and your eyes. Even if your favorite brand doesn’t have a winter-themed sunscreen yet, any sunscreen would do. Just make sure you use it consistently and help us spread the message loud and clear. And for those who will still miss the message, do them a favor and ask your favorite brands on social media to come up with their own winter sunscreen, because they have a lot more power to reach wider audiences.

I heard someone refer to sun damage as a taxi meter that just keeps on running throughout your life. And just like you can stop a meter when the car is not running, you can stop sun damage from accumulating by making sure you protect yourself from the sun, including through the consistent use of sunscreen, regardless of the season. We have a few weeks of winter left, so let’s use this time to stop the meter.

Stay healthy! Stay happy!

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