Felipe Partarrieu is a dermatologist, who is GMC registered with a full licence to practise in the UK. Specialising in cosmeceuticals, facial skin care, and hair disorders, we worked with Felipe to bring you top quality information to help you make informed buying decisions and understand more about what goes onto your skin.
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Felipe Partarrieu is a final-year dermatology resident, who is GMC registered with a full licence to practise in the UK. Specialising in cosmeceuticals, facial skincare, and hair disorders, we worked with Felipe to bring you top quality information to help you make informed buying decisions and understand more about what goes onto your skin.
Harmful UV rays are still present even in the depths of winter, and although cloud coverage lessens the likelihood of sunburn, you need to be vigilant. UV rays do more than just cause painful burns; they penetrate the skin causing damage on a microscopic level that, over time, leads to unwanted skin changes and premature ageing.
What's even more concerning is that prolonged exposure to UV radiation can eventually develop certain skin cancers and melanomas. It's essential to continue with regular sunscreen application during winter to create a deflective barrier between UV rays and your skin, even on cloudy days.
Sunscreen should be worn 365 days per year, no matter the weather or latitude. Moreover, snow and winter sports expose us to more UV radiation, increasing the chances of sunburn and long-term solar damage. Even though the cloudiness of winter lessens the likelihood of sunburn, UV radiation still penetrates through and reaches your skin.
Even if you are not concerned with beauty, you should be aware of these rays when it comes to health. UV radiation has been proven to cause basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, two of the most common forms of skin cancer.
While the overall strength of UV fluctuates throughout the year, the percentage of UVA stays largely the same regardless of the season. These rays penetrate exposed skin and permeate the fabric of your clothing and glass, making you susceptible to their effects even indoors on cold and cloudy days!
UVA radiation represents 95% of the total UV radiation that reaches the Earth's surface, and it's the primary type of light used in tanning beds.
Due to its longer wavelength, it has slightly less energy than UVB radiation, but it's able to reach the deeper layers of the skin where it exerts its effects: DNA damage, loss of elastic fibres and inflammation, all of which lead to wrinkling and premature ageing (remember ageing = UVA). UVA radiation is also proven to contribute to developing some forms of skin cancer.
UVB or 'short wave' rays don’t penetrate the skin as deeply as UVA. Significantly lessened during the winter months, they aren’t strong enough to pass through glass or heavy cloud coverage. However, that is not to say they aren’t of concern during the winter.
UVB rays are the ones that cause redness and burning. Sunburn is much more than a painful nuisance that can ruin your holiday: it plays a significant role in developing melanoma. Melanomas can spread rapidly throughout the body, making them the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
This may come as bad news to skiers, but it’s much easier to suffer sunburn on the slopes than on the beach. This is because snow and ice reflect sunlight and UV rays, putting you at greater risk. Plus, in the mountains, the higher the altitude, the more amplified UV rays become, growing in intensity up to 12% per 1,000 meters!
UVB radiation only represents 5% of all the UV radiation that reaches us, but it is responsible for sun-induced redness and burns (Remember Burns = UVB), and it's linked to the development of some skin cancers.
Although UVB radiation is at its weakest during the winter and doesn't readily penetrate through glass or clouds, it is still capable of causing sunburn at high altitudes and on reflective surfaces such as snow or ice (snow reflects up to 80% of UV radiation), all of which happens more often during the winter.
As you probably know, SPF is the measure of protection a particular sunscreen has against UVB rays. The factor number relates to the percentage of UVB rays (measured in photons) which are blocked by the sunscreen.
Most dermatologists recommend sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above during the winter. Factor 30 sunscreen gives around 97% protection from UVB rays. If you're particularly pale or sun-sensitive and want the best protection possible, you could pick a factor 50, which blocks an impressive 98% of rays.
A higher sun protection factor (SPF) will provide more protection, but remember that no sunscreen is 100% effective at blocking out UV rays. Most dermatology societies around the world recommend using a sunscreen that’s 30 SPF or higher, no matter the skin tone, time of the year or latitude.
Using a sunscreen with moisturising properties will help you avoid dry, flaking skin without needing to use multiple products. Not only will this save you time and money, but slathering fewer creams on your face can prevent clogged pores from product buildup.
For those with oily skin, making sure that your moisturiser isn't overly moisturising is key to keeping your sunscreen effective in blocking harmful rays. Instead of looking for a sunscreen with a lot of ingredients, opt for fewer and look out for formulas that include glycerin or squalane.
There's nothing better than a nice face mask at the end of a cold winter's day. It will do wonders for hydrating your skin after being exposed to the elements!
Given when the lower air humidity level is present in winter, the water in your skin evaporates more quickly, making your skin feel dry and tight. It's important to distinguish a moisturising sunscreen from a moisturiser with sunscreen agents.
You should always prefer the former because the SPF effectiveness of the latter will always be lower and might not offer enough protection. Some ingredients to look for are hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and vitamin B5.
Some sunscreen products designed specifically for winter sports contain an SPF lip balm built into the tube, so you’ll have no excuse to not protect those lips from the sun wherever you are.
Make sure you're also stocked with a decent hand cream for the winter too!
Most people forget about the lips when they think about good sun protection habits. Unlike the rest of the body, lips have no ability to produce a protective suntan and also have a thinner epithelium (outermost layer), making them prone to burning.
Over time, this can lead to a loss in volume, discolouration, wrinkling and even cancer. Therefore, it's of the utmost importance to choose a proper lip balm that both moisturises and offers high UV protection.
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Winter Sun Cream
Top Choice for All Skin Types Specifically Formulated to Protect During Winter
Mountain Face Sunscreen
The Best Sunscreen for Snow and Winter Sports That Won't Rub Off
Dermatologist Sunscreen｜Pack of 2
A Hypoallergenic Option Suitable for Acne-Prone Skin and Recommended by Dermatologists
UV Ski Sun Cream
A Winter Sunscreen Bursting With Moisturising Ingredients, Perfect for Snow Sports
GinZing™ SPF 40 Energy-Boosting Moisturiser
A 2-in-1 Sunscreen and Tinted Moisturiser to Wake Up Dull Winter Skin
Age Shield Face Oil-Free Sunscreen
Protects 6 Layers of Skin Making It the Best Choice for Tackling Anti-ageing
Silk Hydration Lotion
A Coconut-Scented Sunscreen That Moisturises Your Skin for up to 12 Hours
Ultra-Hydrating Sun Protection Cream
A Rich and Moisturising Milk for the Body and Face, Great for Boosting Hydration
Expert Sun Protector Face Cream
A Unique Sunscreen Formulated With a Barrier to Protect Against Cold and Windy Weather
UV Sport Broad-Spectrum SPF
Infused With Vitamin E and Squalane to Increase Skin Hydration and Moisturise Winter Skin
This star product combines a mineral-based sunscreen with a sheer tinted moisturiser to protect whilst giving a healthy glow to the skin, even in the sun’s absence! Suitable for year-round use, this will fit seamlessly into your daily skincare regime, making it a great way to ease into the habit of applying sunscreen in winter.
In at number 9, we have a face cream from Shiseido. The product is really lightweight and, with its significant moisturising properties, can replace your moisturiser in your morning skincare routine.
What really makes this product stand out, though, is its occlusive finish. This unique formula has been specially created to act as a barrier to protect your skin from cold temperatures and windy weather. However, it is a little expensive and lacking somewhat in terms of reviews.
If you're looking for a formula that works for sports, this is it. Come rain, shine, snow or sweat, once it's on, it won't budge! It's also suitable for the entire body, but at this price, it will become more than a little expensive if you're applying it head to toe!
Throughout the day, sunscreen loses its efficacy, which can be for various reasons such as rubbing off from touch or perspiration and UV degradation. You should aim to re-apply regularly at 2-hour intervals during daylight hours for sustained coverage.
In the winter you should apply sunscreen most thoroughly to areas of exposed skin such as the face, hands and neck. Take care when rubbing in to ensure even coverage without gaps, and use gentle pressure when applying to the sensitive skin around the eyes.
Written and researched by Wrenn Mann
No. 1: FLOSLEK｜Winter Sun Cream
No. 2: Piz Buin｜Mountain Face Sunscreen
No. 3: Altruist｜Dermatologist Sunscreen｜Pack of 2
No. 4: Garnier｜UV Ski Sun Cream
No. 5: Origins ｜GinZing™ SPF 40 Energy-Boosting Moisturiser
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