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Do I need to wear sunscreen in the winter?

I'll start with a fact that most will find suprising. 80% of visible skin ageing is caused by sun damage. Therefore, making an SPF part of your daily skincare routine goes a long way to protecting your skin from cancer, pigmentation spots and other signs of premature ageing.

However, this doesn't just apply to summer sun, even the sun in cooler months can damage our skin without causing it to tan or burn. UVB rays can burn but reduce in strength in the cooler months. UVA rays are present in equal strength all year round regardless of temperature and can penetrate clouds. It's these UVA rays that penetrate deeper into the skin and attack the dermis where our fibroblast cells are located. Think of them as the factory for producing collagen and elastin.

Once these cells are permanently damaged by the sun, they are no longer able to function as efficiently and reduce the amount and quality of collagen and elastin that is produced. Our pigment producing cells are also damaged by the sun, these are called melanocytes. Damage to these cells can cause areas of dark pigmentation known as hyperpigmentation which is difficult to treat.

If you are considering adding a sunscreen to your routine, you've probably already found the choice out there may be a little overwhelming, so here are a few tips:

We recommend a fragrance free, mineral (physical) sunscreen for the face. This gives better protection than a chemical sunscreen as it works by reflecting off the suns radiation. Chemical sunscreens are destroyed by the suns rays and absorbed by the skin. Fragrance free versions are also much better tolerated by delicate facial skin.

SPF in a moisturiser or foundation doesn't cut the mustard in terms of standards of protection as it doesn't come with a UVA/UVB rating. It's safer to therefore assume it's the most basic level of protection unless there's proof otherwise.

There are some great tinted sunscreens available if you're short of time and looking for coverage and protection in one. We like Heliocare 360 Gel and AlumierMD Moisture Matte SPF. Both are mineral based, non-oily and good for all skin types.

If you haven't already started wearing a daily sunscreen, 365 days a year, it's never too late to start to preserve your looks and maintain your skin health.



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