Do I really need sunscreen in Fall and Winter?
Guest Blog Post by Lauren Tollison.
You aren't alone if you’re wondering whether it's necessary to wear sunscreen during the fall and winter months. Brush On Block was founded to make it easy for everyone to wear sunscreen every day, but it is always worth explaining WHY you should wear it!
As the weather cools down and there are fewer daylight hours, it’s easy to think sunscreen isn’t necessary. After all, you really are not likely to get a sunburn in fall or winter in the northern hemisphere. Often, people associate the sun's damaging rays with how intense they feel on their skin. This is a harmful misconception. UVB rays, that cause sunburn, are at their peak in spring and summer months, but wane as we enter fall. UVA rays (the ones that cause visible signs of aging) are just as intense during fall and winter as in summer. UVA rays can penetrate through cloud cover, fog and windows, so whether you are cozying up inside or outside under the blanket of clouds, it is essential to wear sunscreen. Though it might be easier during fall and winter to cover up with clothing, your face and head often remain uncovered year-round, and most skin cancers occur in these areas, as well as noticeable signs of premature aging. UV rays decrease the production of elastin and collagen, which help your skin stay young. Don’t let the UV rays win! Apply sunscreen daily to keep your skin young and healthy.
It was previously thought that UVB rays (the rays that cause sunburn) were associated with skin cancer, and UVA rays were only associated with burning and weren’t as damaging. In fact, many sunscreens didn't protect against UVA rays in the past. It is now shown through much research how important it is to protect against UVA rays. Though slightly less intense than UVB rays, UVA rays have a longer wavelength, and therefore more of them reach the surface of the Earth. In fact, 95% of the UV radiation from the sun that reaches the Earth is UVA radiation. Along with leading to the development of skin cancer, UVA rays cause premature aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines. Unlike UVB rays, UVA rays maintain the same intensity throughout the year, no matter the season. Unfortunately, summer’s end doesn’t take the UV rays with it.
Fall Activities are a Perfect Storm for Sun Damage!
Fall is a great time to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine when it isn't blazing hot. Activities are everywhere you look...soccer games, cross-country meets, football games and tailgates. All of these have you outdoors and exposed to those intense UVA rays. Have you enjoyed a trip to the Pumpkin Patch or a Farmer's Market in the fall sunshine? Did you wear your sunscreen? Does the weather make you want to get out and take a hike, maybe view the changing leaves? Are you protecting your skin when you do? Even if you're meeting a friend for a quick al fresco lunch or coffee, your skin is being bombarded with UVA rays, making it look older and feel dry.
Regular Use of Sunscreen Helps Reduce Signs of Skin Aging:
As the weather grows colder, our skin traps moisture, which acts as a barrier to hydration. Dryness can reveal wrinkles and fine lines, so if you want to work harder to prevent dry skin and wrinkles, fall and winter are the perfect seasons to do this. An Australian study published in 2013 showed that those who used sunscreen daily had 24% less aging than those who wore sunscreen inconsistently. It’s never too late to start wearing sunscreen daily. Start now with Brush On Block Mineral Powder Sunscreen. This mineral-based sunscreen with zinc oxide provides gentle protection without the drying effects normally associated with powders. Jojoba and sunflower oils, plus rice lipids help prevent dryness.
Damage Doesn't Only Happen Outdoors
Even the slightest exposure to sunlight can affect your skin. Although glass blocks UVB rays, the same can’t be said for UVA rays. UVA rays can penetrate windows and cloud cover, so no matter what the day holds, it is essential to wear your sunscreen. Just because you aren’t directly outside doesn’t mean the damaging rays can’t affect you. Maybe you work by a window, drive to pick up the kids, or drive to get groceries. Perhaps you spend the day traveling on a plane. Each of the activities, and many more, expose you to harmful UV rays. Protect your skin and choose how well you age by wearing sunscreen daily, regardless of your day.
The Higher Your Elevation, the Greater Exposure to Harmful UV Rays
Are you going on a relaxing trip to the mountains? Enjoying a hike? Skiing or snowboarding? Sledding with friends or family? Whatever you may be doing, it is a must to wear sunscreen. The Skin Cancer Foundation has found that with every thousand feet you rise above sea level, UV radiation increases by 5%. In addition, snow, ice and water reflect these rays and increase their intensity, making it extra crucial to wear sunscreen. The more exposed you are to these damaging rays, the more likely it is to result in photoaging or premature aging of the skin.
How Often Should I Reapply?
In the summer, it is easier to remember to reapply your sunscreen as you may be enjoying water activities or sweating it off in the summer heat. In the winter, it is easy to think that you can put sunscreen on in the morning and be good to go for the day. Fall and winter conditions such as wind, snow, and lower temperatures can cause your sunscreen to erode faster, making it essential to reapply frequently. Reapply your Brush On Block every 2 hours, or every 80 minutes if you are sweating.
Do you think you are farther from the sun in the winter months? Wrong. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you are actually closer to the sun during the months of winter, causing more extreme UV rays that can age and damage your skin.
When you think about why you wear sunscreen, there could be many answers...my doctor told me to, to avoid sunburn, to avoid skin damage and reduce your risk of skin cancer...all are great reasons. And all of them except one (avoiding sunburn) apply all year long. So protect your skin every day, you won't be sorry you did.