Why do you need to wear an SPF in winter?

SPF in winter

Wearing sunscreen from a young age is the single, best thing you can do for your skin, in terms of an anti-ageing strategy. As Consultant Dermatologists, we will always recommend a physical sunscreen over a chemical sunscreen where possible but we are ultimately just happy when you are wearing any SPF 30+ formulation to protect your skin…even during the winter!

Wearing sunscreen during the winter months can feel counterintuitive and that’s because most people associate the stronger UVB rays of the hot sun as the main cause of premature ageing. But this is a mistake. Although UVB rays are lessened by cooler temperatures and often denser cloud cover in winter, UVA rays are very much present year ‘round.

Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, are ‘shortwave’ rays, with a high intensity. They don’t penetrate the skin as deeply as UVA rays but are responsible for most skin cancers. They're what causes redness and sunburns and are most intense from early Spring to Autumn. During the winter months they are most likely to be reflected off snow or ice, on the ski slopes or at higher altitudes

Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, also called "long wave" rays, on the other hand make up 95 percent of the rays that reach the surface of the Earth. They can penetrate the skin much more deeply than UVB rays, and are responsible for signs of aging like dark spots and wrinkles, as well as some skin cancers. UVA rays are also responsible for ‘tanning’ skin and can penetrate glass and clouds.

To prevent the impact of cumulative sun exposure – fine lines, wrinkles, discolouration and heightened risk of skin cancer – we always recommend that our patients wear sunscreen daily. 365 days of the year!

If you’d like to ramp up your winter sun-care, we stock physical sunscreens @eltamdskincare and @revisionskincare which have multiple variants to suit every skin type and need. You can either visit our online shop, link in bio, to explore the full range or call to speak to the team on (01) 912 3030 or email us at info@instituteofdermatologists.ie.