Here’s Why Sunscreen is Just as Important During the Winter

elegant woman in roll neck sweater and cardigan with white facial mask hiding behind clothes on winter light blue background.

You always hear that sunscreen is an important step to incorporate into your skincare regimen, especially living in Arizona where the sun shines bright for 300 days out of the year on average in Phoenix. But what about during the winter? Can’t we get away with foregoing sunscreen on rare rainy days?

We caught up with Echo Sandburg, chief brand officer of CP Skin Health + EltaMD, to understand why sunscreen should always be a top-shelf product in your medicine cabinet, why sunscreen is just as vital to apply during the colder winter months and how EltaMD’s new broad-spectrum sunscreen covers all bases so you won’t have to think twice about protecting your skin with a daily SPF you’ll actually want to reach for.

Why is sunscreen just as important during the winter months? 

ES: Although you may not be spending many days by the pool or heading to the beach, sunscreen is just as vital in the winter season. UV rays don’t take the winter off. The truth is we’re at risk for UV exposure anytime we step outside. Even on days we don’t plan to go outside, UV rays can pass through windows and car windshields. Sunscreen is important all-year round and should be the last step in your daily skincare routine. Don’t forget to apply it to your face, neck, chest and hands! 

Arizona winters can be cold with sun, which can feel like a double whammy for skin. What helps keep skin balanced?

ES: We believe the key to achieving healthy, balanced skin is a healthy skin barrier. Facing a mixture of sunlight and colder temperatures, the skin is more susceptible to barrier damage in the Arizona winter. If your skin is dry, cracked, itchy or red, there’s a possibility you might be experiencing a damaged skin barrier. This occurs when one or more of the outermost layers of your skin is compromised, causing your body’s protecting shield to break down and become sensitive to outside aggressors. We have an entire line of products called the EltaMD Skin Recovery System, formulated with our patented amino acid complex, that is clinically proven to help repair a damaged skin barrier. The line consists of an essence toner, serum, moisturizer and our new Skin Recovery Night Mask.

Should the type of sunscreen used in the winter differ?

ES: For extra hydration in the wintertime, we recommend reaching for a moisturizing SPF, like UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 or all-mineral tinted UV Elements SPF 44, both formulated with sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid), to keep skin supple. Another one of my favorites is UV Restore SPF 40. UV Restore is formulated with added skincare ingredients like Ginger Root Extract, Saccharide Isomerate to improve and revitalize sun damaged skin.

How is sunscreen best applied during the winter?

ES: No matter the season, sunscreen application guidelines don’t change. Make sure to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily of at 30 SPF to exposed areas of your body. Reapply every two hours and choose a water-resistant sunscreen for vigorous activities like our year-round golfing here in Arizona. If you’re a skier, snow reflects up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV light, so the sun’s rays can hit you twice. Furthermore, the sun can be stronger at high altitudes when there’s less atmosphere between you and the sun to filter out harmful rays. 

Tell us about the benefits of EltaMD’s sun-care products, including any new products!

ES: We truly believe the best sunscreen is the one that you’re going to wear every day.  That’s why we design sun care products that are cosmetically elegant and feel so good on skin, you’ll forget they’re actually doing the work! That’s why EltaMD is the #1 Dermatologist-recommended professional sunscreen brand.  In fact, more Dermatologists use EltaMD personally than any other professional sun care brand. We have the most extensive line of professional sunscreen products because when it comes to sun care, we know not a one-formula-fits all.  We offer products for different lifestyles, needs, for people of all skin conditions, tones and types. Our sun-care products go beyond just protecting the skin from harmful UV rays, they also deliver skin-loving ingredients because sun-care can also be skincare.  

Just this month we launched the new UV Luminous Broad-Spectrum SPF 41. UV Luminous is an all mineral sunscreen, with a light rosy tint and a semi-matte finish that blends into skin seamlessly and blurs imperfections.  

  • Do you have any other winter skin care tips to share?
  • This one is hard for me, but watch how long you’re in the shower or bath, and resist the urge to make it too hot.  Frequent bathing and hot water can strip away the skin’s natural oils.
  • Lotion your hands right after washing them. Moisturizers work best if they’re applied when the skin is still slightly wet. EltaMD’s So Silky Hand Crème is a great option!
  • Prepare for outdoor activities, like golfing by slathering on an intensive moisturizer like EltaMD’s Moisture-Rich Body Crème in the morning, right after a quick shower. Follow up with sunscreen SPF 30 or greater. Make sure to pack extra moisturizer, sunscreen, and lip balm—you’ll need to reapply frequently throughout the day to lock in moisture and protect against the sun’s rays.

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