Protecting your skin in winter

Good habits to protect your skin from the sun in winter

In winter we need to continue with our sun protection habits, for example by using a moisturiser with SPF or by adding a light SPF to our morning skincare routine. It's important to choose a form of protection that suits your lifestyle and rhythm: if you spend a lot of time outside, you can apply more SPF, but if you work in an office behind a computer all day, SPF 15 applied once a day is enough. 

How does the winter sun affect our skin?

The sun doesn’t take a holiday! It’s there all year round, if a bit less "aggressively" than in summer. In winter, the UVB rays responsible for sunburn decrease and are less dangerous, but this isn't the case for UVA rays, which are responsible for progressive skin deterioration, skin ageing and the appearance of unsightly sunspots. It's also important to remember that UVA can reach the deepest layers of the dermis and so can be responsible for the DNA damage seen in skin cancers.

 

Your skin should be protected whenever you're outside for more than 15 minutes, whether on a terrace or in the mountains. To protect yourself, the appropriate clothing and sunglasses are also important.

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Sun in the mountains: beware of danger

In the mountains, your skin is even more exposed to the sun's harmful effects because of the altitude and sunlight being reflected. The snow reflects UV rays, increasing the amount of radiation that reaches you: 80% of UV rays reflect off the snow and hit your skin even harder.

It is also recognised that the amount of UV increases by 4% every 300 metres, which at an altitude of 3,000 metres is 40% more UV than at the beach. Moreover, the environment can be misleading and doesn't always give you an objective sense about whether or not you'll get sunburn: your skin is almost "anaesthetised" by the cold and wind which give an impression of freshness, while the white clouds filter very few UV rays, although they may lead you to believe that the risk of sunburn is low.

In this situation, it's recommended to protect yourself with sunglasses and sun cream with a high SPF (at least 30) and to renew this protection at least every two hours, especially if you’re skiing or are spending a lot of time outside.

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