Beauty News

Protect yourself against the winter sun

Studies show that cumulative daily exposure to sun - even in the middle of winter - can be as damaging as a day at the beach.

Even in the middle of winter, the sun’s rays have the power to damage our skin and prematurely age us. So while we might not expose so much of ourselves when the weather turns chilly, areas like the face, neck and hands still need protection. Fortunately, these days you can find an SPF in so many makeup and skincare products that it’s easy to make shielding your skin part of your everyday beauty routine.

Dermatologist Dr Mark Gray of ooleoap New Zealand explains why we need a winter SPF.

Q. Why is it so important to use sun protection in winter?

A.Even in the winter, you’re exposed to significant amounts of UV light. Without protection from the sun, you’re still at risk of sunburn, particularly on clear days at around midday. For some skin cancers, it is the total cumulative sun exposure over the years which is the most important factor, not just sunburn, so year-long protection will reduce your risk of developing them. The same amount of sunscreen should be used in the winter as during the summer.

Q. Is it possible to “layer” SPF by using a number of different products?

A.The overriding factor is the highest SPF that is applied. For instance, if you use a foundation with an SPF8 and a sunscreen with an SPF15, that doesn’t mean that you’re protected up to an SPF of 25. You’re protected up the highest SPF number – 15.

Q. Do we still need sun protection in a car on sunny days or at a desk near a window?

A.Glass reduces the amount of UVB exposure but allows most of the UVA to penetrate. This reduces the risk of skin cancer but does not eliminate it. And since UVA exposure is not reduced, you’re still exposed to the ageing effects of the sun, like sun spots and wrinkles.

Q. What about getting adequate vitamin D?

A.It’s advised that you should get some sun exposure to maintain vitamin D levels. This should be less than the burn time of the winter sun. Ten minutes is sufficient.

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