Slathering on sunscreen before a beach day makes total sense. But what about for a ski trip, or a relaxing spring hike? Most people would skip the SPF in these circumstances, but sunscreen isn’t seasonal. Harmful UV rays can affect your skin no matter what the weather conditions are. That is why wearing sunscreen everyday is essential even if you are relaxing indoors.
How Sun Damage Works
Most people know that the sun isn’t good for their skin even if they don’t understand how. Understanding what happens to your skin when you get too much sun is the first step in learning how to prevent skin damage. Here’s what harmful UV rays from sunlight do:
Break Down Collagen and Elastin
Collagen and elastin are proteins that maintain the firmness of your skin. UV rays break down these proteins, which can lead to wrinkles and reduce the skin’s elasticity. Premature aging starts here.
Damage DNA in Skin Cells
UV rays harm the most important part of our skin cells: the DNA. This can cause wrinkles, if you’re lucky. If you’re not so lucky, these mutations can cause skin cancer. Too many people aren’t lucky. In the United States, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer and one in five people get it in their lifetime.
Cause Clumps of Melanin to Form
Melanin is what gives your skin its pigment. When the sun damages your skin, melanin can gather in clumps. These clumps show up as dark spots or “age spots.” These spots, plus the wrinkles you get from collagen and elastin breaking down, add up to a premature aging disaster.
Different Conditions, Same Dangers
Now that you know what happens to your skin when you expose it to UV rays, you want to protect it better. This only needs to happen in the sunny summer months, right? Actually, sunscreen isn’t seasonal. Here’s why:
Even on a cold day, you are still at risk for sun damage. If there’s snow on the ground, the situation is even worse. Snow and ice make the perfect reflectors for sunlight. That means you may still face strong rays. Additionally, if you go on a ski trip, the higher altitudes mean a thinner atmosphere and less protection.
If it feels weird to apply your summertime, coconut-scented sunblock in the winter, try a rich moisturizer with a high SPF. However, by wearing sunscreen everyday, you moisturize, heal, and protect chapped skin.
Clouds don’t block all UV rays. The sunlight can still damage your skin on a cloudy day. In fact, up to 80% of UV rays make it through the clouds. There’s still a lot of potential for skin damage, that is why you should be wearing sunscreen everyday. So, you can’t take a raincheck on your SPF.
If you think you’re safe from the sun inside, think again. There are two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. Some glass blocks one of these types, but can rarely protect you from both. Even when you’re spending a cozy day indoors, it’s best to wear some sunscreen. If you drive long distances, wear it in the car, too.
How You Should Use Sunscreen
Sunscreen should be a part of your daily skincare routine no matter what season it is or what climate you live in. There are many moisturizers and foundations that come with SPF, making it easy to remember.
In addition to adding it to your daily routine, make sure you remember how often you need to apply when spending excessive time in the sun. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, you should apply sunscreen a half hour before you go outdoors and every two hours after that. Each time, use about an ounce of sunscreen (around a shot glass full). Don’t forget easy-to-miss places like your ears or where your hair parts.
It’s Always Sunscreen Season
The sun can damage your skin in any season, even if you’re inside your car or house. If you want to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, and continue looking youthful, know that sunscreen isn’t seasonal. Wearing sunscreen everyday is an essential part of keeping your skin firm and healthy.
Make sure to add SPF to your daily skincare routine. Read more about health and wellness to improve your skincare – and your lifestyle.