The winter months can be confusing when it comes to your skin care routine. Even though we don’t feel the hot summer heat on our skin, the sun’s strong ultraviolet rays can still wreak havoc on our skin year round.
This is especially true in regions that receive a lot of snow cover. Harmful UVA rays can reflect off of snow and pass through the glass on our cars or homes – penetrating deep into skin layers and resulting in long-term damage.
How Winter Sun Damage Affects Your Skin
Sun damage has long been associated with the development of skin cancer, and according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime.
Winter sun exposure is just as harmful as the summer months, which means you should still be lathering on sun protection. Wearing sunscreen on a daily basis is the best way to protect your skin from harmful damage year round.
In addition to skin cancer, sun damage is associated with premature signs of aging. Some early signs of sun damage include:
- Brown spots
- Rough skin
- Broken blood vessels
- Uneven skin tone
- Increase in moles
Ultimately, the amount of premature aging that occurs due to sun damage will depend on your natural skin color and your history of sun damage. Men and women with fair skin and a long history of sun exposure are the most susceptible to early signs of aging.
4 Tips for Protecting Your Skin and Reducing Signs of Aging During the Winter
1) Apply SPF 30 sunscreen to your face and lips every day, even when it’s cold or overcast outside. Also, remember that not all sun screens are created equal. Make sure to purchase sun screen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays.
2) Never use tanning beds. Artificial UVA radiation has long been associated with sun damage and skin cancer. If you want to avoid looking pasty this winter, opt for tanning spray, lotions and bronzers instead.
3) Pay attention to the early signs of sun damage listed above. If you notice anything abnormal, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. Skin cancer is a very treatable condition when caught early.
4) Consider cosmetic treatments for sun damage. If you’re bothered by early signs of aging and sun damage, there are a variety of non-surgical treatments such as IPL therapy, Botox and dermal fillers that can be used to rejuvenate your skin. Winter time is one of the most popular seasons for cosmetic enhancement because patients are more willing to stay indoors and avoid excessive sun exposure.