Summertime sunshine and slathering on sunscreen go hand-in-hand, but did you know that you should be wearing sunscreen all year round, regardless of the weather? Even when you can’t feel the heat or see the brightness, the sun’s ultraviolet light can still damage your skin, and those rays can penetrate clouds, fog, rain, and windows.
Here’s a look at how incorporating sunscreen into your everyday skincare regimen can benefit your skin health.
Chemical vs. Physical Sunscreens
There are some major differences between chemical and physical sunscreens. While wearing either type of sunscreen is better than not wearing any at all, physical sunscreens offer significant benefits.
- Chemical sunscreens are made with—you guessed it— chemicals that are absorbed into your skin. When the sun’s UV rays penetrate your skin, those chemicals create a reaction that converts the UV light into heat, which dissipates out through your skin.
- Physical sunscreens are formulated with minerals, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, that form a protective shield on the outer surface of your skin. These minerals reflect the UV light before it has a chance to penetrate your skin in the first place.
As you can see, there’s a reason why so many dermatologists-recommend physical sunscreens. For the best protection, use a broad-spectrum, hypoallergenic sunscreen that’s formulated with mineral blockers, not chemicals.
Guard Your Skin From External Stressors
Mineral sunscreens that contain iron oxide and antioxidants are especially beneficial. They also offer protection from visible blue light that comes from the screens of digital devices and some types of lighting, as well as external stressors, such as free radicals, heavy metals, and airborne pollutants.
Check the label to make sure your everyday sunscreen includes this added protection.
Prevent Weather Damage
Harsh weather can take a serious toll on your skin. Wind, snow, and even rain can erode fatty lipids that protect and hydrate your skin, which can lead to irritation, inflammation, and dehydration. Losing those fatty lipids also leaves your skin vulnerable to a wide range of other skin conditions. If you’re spending a significant amount of time in harsh weather, try to reapply physical sunscreen every two hours or so to keep that protective barrier working.
Protect Your Skin From UV Reflections
Wearing sunscreen all winter is important, not only to prevent weather damage, but to prevent sunburn! This is especially true when it’s snowy outside. Assuming that sunburns can only occur during summer is one of the more common skincare mistakes, but the snow can actually reflect up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
So, even when you’re not in the line of direct sunlight from above, UV rays can still penetrate your skin from reflections all around. It’s not just snow either—ultraviolet light can reflect on other surfaces, like water and sand too.
Use Sunscreen With Healthy Ingredients
Some sunscreens can help you achieve younger, healthier-looking skin. It’s important that you choose a high-quality sunscreen if you plan on adding it to your daily skincare routine. The cheap stuff at the local convenience store might be okay for a trip to the beach, but if you’re using a product daily, make sure it’s loaded with quality ingredients like vitamins and antioxidants that boost your overall skin health.
UV Rays Don’t Vacation
Remember: Sunlight doesn’t need to be visible to be harmful. Even when you’re indoors, UV rays can penetrate windows, causing skin damage over time. While mild exposure to sunlight here and there isn’t likely to cause any major problems, it’s important to think long-term. Add a high-quality physical sunscreen to your everyday skincare routine so you’re always protected from the sun, the elements, and the environment.