JAN 07, 2017 08:48 AM PST

Why SPF is Not Just For the Summer

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

When the summer sun is shining, people are more conscious about taking care of their skin. In the blistering winter, however, do we still need to lather on the sunscreen? The answer is a resounding "Yes!".

Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean your skin needs any less protection. In fact, "winter skin is more sensitive to sun than tanned summer skin," said Frank Schwanke, a skin researcher for Nivea. Schwanke explained that the pale skin in winter means that we have less melanin to protect against ultraviolet (UV) radiation. As such, "the skin is not only less tanned, but also more sensitive to UV radiation when it comes to a day with a lot of sunshine," said Schwanke.

And the UV rays are still present in the wintertime. The two types of UV radiation are UVA and UVB rays. While UVB rays are weaker when the sun is down or at certain seasons, UVA rays are the same strength at all times of day and all year long. This ray is mostly responsible for skin aging, while UVB is responsible for triggering burning and cancer.

Thus, even if it's cold or cloudy outside, don't skimp on the sunscreen! Watch the video to learn more!
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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