How to Do a Good Job of Sun Protection in Winter

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Whenever anybody mentions the cold winter months, we rarely think of the sun as a threat. Sure enough, the sun’s effects only cross our minds during the middle of summer, when it is the warmest. During winter, we worry more about frostbite or dry skin as the worse things that could happen to us, and those worries are well-founded. But did you know that the effects of the sun’s UV lights are actually much worse during winter?

It has been found that snow and ice reflect as much as 90% of the sun’s UV rays, even when the clouds are blocking the sun. This means that if you’re not wearing any sort of sun protection, you’re absorbing more UV than you normally would.

Luckily though, we have sunscreen to protect ourselves, but its effectiveness can only be determined by how well you use it. So today, we’ll be taking a look at how you can get the most sun protection out of sunscreen during winter.

Applying Sunscreen

Clean Up First

A common mistake most people make when it comes to applying sunscreen is that they think of it as separate item from other skin care products, rather than as a part of their beauty routine. In order to maximize the sun protection sunscreen offers, you’ll need to make sure that your skin is at its peak performance long before you apply it.

The first thing you’ll need to do before applying your chosen sunscreen product is to wash your face with warm water. Afterwards, apply your favorite cleanser and wash thoroughly. Once your skin is washed, you should apply toner. Having yours skin properly cared for before you apply sunscreen ensures that your skin is not only protected from the sun, but also is protected from other issues you’ll be facing in cold weather, such as dry skin or frostbite.

Moisturize Before You Apply Sunscreen

The most important job our skin has is to keep the bad things on the outside from going inside your body. Some skin care products, however, are meant to be absorbed by the skin, whilst others are meant to form a protective layer on top of the skin and isn’t meant to be absorbed. Sunscreen is one of the latter.

This means that whatever product you apply after sunscreen isn’t going to be absorbed by the skin, since sunscreen will basically be blocking the way. Moisturizer is a good product to wear during winter, as it keeps your skin hydrated, but in order for it to do its job, you’ll need to apply it on your bare skin, not on top of other products. A good rule of thumb to consider is to apply products with thin consistencies first and thick consistencies later, or from water-based to oil-based。

Apply Isolating Cream Before Applying Sunscreen

Another item that will benefit from being applied on your skin before sunscreen is makeup base or isolating cream. Isolating cream’s consistency is somewhere between that of moisturizer and most sunscreens, so if you plan on using any, it’s best put it on after your moisturizer, but before you apply sunscreen. Isolating cream also has the added benefit of shrinking your pores and minimizing your wrinkles, so adding it to your bare skin before any thick products will maximize its effect.

Apply Sunscreen at Least Half an Hour Before Going out

A common mistake many people make when they apply sunscreen is that they put it on just as they’re about to go out. Sunscreen will need time to settle on your skin before it can do its magic. The process usually takes about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the product. If you decide to apply sunscreen when you’ve already exposed yourself to the sun, then it’s already too late.

Also, not allowing the product to settle before you wear clothing over the area means your sunscreen is just going to be rubbed off every time you put on and take off your clothes. Sunscreen can also be washed off by perspiration if you end up sweating before it has the chance to do its job.

Don’t Forget to Reapply Sunscreen on a Regular Basis

Sunscreen is meant to be reapplied throughout the day, especially if you’re planning on spending a lot of time outside. A good timeframe to follow is reapplying sunscreen every 90 minutes to two hours. Naturally, if you’re out swimming or feel that you’ve been sweating way too much, then you should reapply sunscreen more often, as sunscreen can still be washed off, even if you’ve waited the appropriate amount of time to let it settle. Spending time in direct sunlight also breaks your sunscreen down quickly, so in order to extend the amount of sun protection you get, either spend more time in the shade, or reapply sunscreen more often.

Continue Your Routine in the Evening

Although you’ve already done what you can to protect your skin from the sun during the day, you shouldn’t ignore caring for your skin in the evening. Damage to your skin is still inevitable, regardless of whether you’ve applied sunscreen or not, so take this opportunity to pamper your skin. Maximize the amount of rest your skin will be getting by cleansing it and hydrating it properly before going to bed.

More Tips

Always Wear Sun Protection

Although we’ve been telling you why it’s a good idea to apply sunscreen during winter and not just while it’s hot, there is plenty of merit to wearing sunscreen every day. Whether there’s snow to reflect UV light to your skin or when the sun is blazing hot, or even when it’s an overcast day, the sun will always be sending its harmful rays. So, to be safe, always wear sunscreen, and wear it properly.

Do Sun Protection Indoors Too

The worst thing you can do when it comes to sun protection is becoming too complacent. Although the walls can protect you most of the time whenever you’re indoors, you may need to spend time next to windows or doors for hours at a time. It could be while you’re watching TV, or when you’re in your office, and there’s an open window nearby that can catch the UV rays being reflected by the snow. Whatever the case may be, the sun’s rays can creep into your place when you least expect it, so just to be sure, stay protected wherever you are, even indoors.

Choose Sunscreen with the Right SPF

Sunscreen is only as good as its sun protection factor (SPF) rating. Depending on the amount of activity you plan on doing outdoors, it’s a good idea to choose sunscreen with a high SPF. For quick, daily exposure, SPF 15 should be enough, but if you’re going to spend more than a few hours a day outside, then pick a sunscreen with an SPF anywhere between 30 and 70. SPF 30 is capable of blocking out at least 95% of the sun’s UV-B rays for a few hours at a time.

Apply Sunscreen Evenly

A lot of people tend to be slather sunscreen on without putting much effort behind it. They tend to miss a lot of crucial areas, such as behind the neck, the ears, the chin, and numerous other areas, particularly on the face. Make sure that you apply sunscreen evenly across your entire body. Failure to do so might lead to uneven skin tone.

Wipe It Off in The Evening

Although sunscreen does a heck of a good job at keeping you safe during the day, it doesn’t make much sense keeping it on when you’re about to go to bed. As a matter of fact, the same chemicals that make sunscreen so effective at sun protection can actually bad for your skin if you leave it on overnight. What’s more, most sunscreen products are oil-based, and if any residue on your skin are left when you go to bed, the substance can be comedogenic, or prone to blocking your pores, causing acne.

Don’t Use More Than One Brand of Sunscreen at Once

If you plan on layering more than one type of sunscreen, make sure that you’re using just one brand. Putting on multiple brands on your skin is never a good idea, as certain brands could have ingredients that can conflict with the ingredient of other brands. Slathering on multiple products at a time can also cause oil buildup, which can lead to your pores becoming clogged over time. Ultimately, it’s better to just use one sunscreen product at a time and avoid layering different brands overall.

Store Your Sunscreen Properly

Although sunscreen is great at protecting your skin from the harsh effects of sunlight, it’s not very good at protecting itself. Sunscreen does have an expiration date, and they will go bad, sometimes much sooner if bottle is exposed to sunlight and is heated up. Exposing the sunscreen bottle to sunlight also means it’s absorbing UV, which causes it to break down long before you even put it on. In order to get the most out of your sunscreen, store it in a cool, dry place away from sunlight, preferably within reach when you’re working on your daily beauty routine.

Kana Z

Kana Z

I am a writer focussing on beauty, cosmetics, skincare, haircare and body care. I have a special interest in establishing solutions for problem skin. I have being working and studing with some of the world’s top skincare experts, hairstylists, makeup artists, perfume creators, photographers and models. I also currently write for websites of the skincare brand. My Specialties: beauty, journalism, skincare, haircare, cosmetics and problem skin.

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