The weather may be colder and darker in the UK as winter sets in, but you still need to remember to wear sunscreen.
There is a common misconception that sunscreen only needs to be applied on hot summer days. However, the truth is the skin can still get damaged by UV rays even on cloudy days. Here, you’ll discover why it is still important to wear sunscreen this winter. You will also discover some key winter sun protection tips you can follow.
Understanding the dangers of UVA and UVB rays
Sunlight contains a few different types of rays. The two that penetrate through the earth’s surface are UVA and UVB rays.
UVA rays are known to penetrate deeply into the skin. They pose a risk for premature ageing, and there are said to be around 500 times more of them than UVB rays. However, UVB rays are the ones responsible for sunburn and skin cancer.
One of the biggest misconceptions about UVA and UVB rays is that they are blocked by clouds. The truth is, even on dull days, these rays penetrate through the cloud and pose the same risks to the skin. This makes it imperative to protect the skin all year round. Moreover, if snow falls, UVB rays reflect off it, causing them to hit your skin twice. UVA rays are also capable of penetrating through glass. This makes them dangerous even on sunny days spent indoors.
Winter sun protection tips
While a lot more of the skin is covered up in winter, there are some protection tips you’ll want to follow. These include:
- Be sure to protect your face, neck, and head
- Apply products with a minimum SPF 30 (Mr Smith recommends SPF 50)
- Avoid tanning beds
Your face, neck, and head are all exposed to the elements during winter. To keep them protected, you can wear sunglasses on sunny days, wear a scarf, and protect the head with a wide-brimmed hat. If you can’t cover the areas, make sure they are protected with a good SPF lotion.
If your skin tends to become dry in winter, opting for a facial moisturiser with SPF 50 is a great choice. Remember, it will wear off throughout the day, so you’ll need to apply it several times. Focus on the areas that are often forgotten such as the hairline, above your ears, and around the eye area.
Finally, though you may long for that beautiful summer glow, it’s important to avoid using tanning beds. These pose the greatest risk to your health, known to greatly increase the risk of skin cancer.
If you do notice any changes in your skin over winter, it is important to get them checked out quickly. Changes in moles and skin discolouration should be treated with caution. Like any type of cancer, the earlier you catch skin cancer the higher the chance of it can be treated successfully.
For more advice, call us on 020 3770 5864 to arrange an appointment at the HCA Lister Hospital Clinics (Chelsea Outpatient Centre and Chiswick Medical Centre) or call 020 7808 2785 to book a consultation with Mr Myles Smith at the Royal Marsden Hospital.