Skin Care

Why You Need SPF in Winter

Defending skin against sun damage is a year-round endeavor

Is it dark at 4 PM? Does the temperature chill the bones and are your weekend plans more cozy than crazy? Must be winter. If extra hydration and exfoliation may be your main priorities, there could be one very crucial step you’re overlooking this season: SPF.

 Snowy days, cold temps and even indoor lounging can still leave your skin exposed. Protecting skin against sun damage should be top of mind every day, even when it’s far from beach weather.

First up: a refresher on sun damage and the importance of this skin (and ultimately life) saving ingredient.

What is SPF?

SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, is a measure of protection from UVB rays. The numbers associated with SPF range from 15-100 and are used to indicate how long the sun’s UVB rays would take to redden sunscreen-protected skin, compared to the amount of time without sunscreen.


There are two types of ultraviolet exposure: UVB & UVA. UVB rays are short wave and burn the outer layer of skin while UVA rays are long wave and penetrate skin deeply, causing more long-term effects like premature aging – think wrinkles, uneven skin tone, discoloration, sagging skin – and in worst cases, skin cancer. Broad-spectrum sunscreen, like our Advanced Retinol Day Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30, will protect against both kinds of UV rays.

Now onto some winter-specific (sun) facts:

Cold weather has no effect on the strength of the sun.

Don’t be fooled by a deep freeze. The sun rises every day and so do harmful UV rays. While you may not feel or see a burn occur from UVB rays due to being bundled up, the damaging effects of ever-present UVA rays will still cause damage.

You don’t need direct sunlight to damage skin.

UVA rays can travel through clouds, glass, and even your favorite outfit. Play defense with dark or bright colored clothing that fits loosely and is constructed from synthetic or dense natural fabrics. When sitting inside near a window, be sure to apply a moisturizer with SPF and when traveling by plane, train or automobile, a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Fresh snow means double the sun exposure.

Walking in a winter wonderland? Pack your snowshoes and your SPF. Fresh snow can reflect up to 90% of UV radiation on a sunny day. That adds up to 2x the rays: directly from the sun + off snow-covered surfaces. Hitting the slopes? Keep altitude top of mind; there’s less of the earth's atmosphere to block the sunlight. UV exposure increases about 4% for every 300 m (1000 ft) gain in elevation.

To sum it up – wear SPF.

Even when you think you don’t need it. In the cold and snow, on overcast days, traveling, or just lounging at home. Make it a part of your daily routine.

Our recommendation: Advanced Retinol Day Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30. This daytime moisturizer combines the benefits of Retinol, NIA-114™ and Broad Spectrum SPF protection to promote healthy skin renewal and target major signs of aging, while defending skin against new damage.

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