Don't push your SPF to the back of your medicine cabinet just yet!
As the colder months settle in and the days get shorter, it's easy to think sun protection isn't a top priority anymore. But hold on just a second—Winter doesn't mean taking a break from sunscreen; it's as crucial as ever to keep that sun defense handy.
I promise, it's a conscious beauty power move you'll want to make.
3 Reasons Sunscreen In The Winter Is The Power Move
1. UV Rays are Sneaky:
Despite the colder air, those UV rays are still at play. They might not feel as intense as during the Summer, but they are there, doing their thing even on cloudy or snowy days. Therefore, the skin is still susceptible to cellular damage, photo aging, and skin cancers.
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we're actually closer to the sun during the Winter (closest to the sun in January and furthest in July.) Despite the temperatures being colder because of the earth's tilt, we're physically closer to the sun's harmful UV rays.
2. Ozone Layer Dynamics:
The ozone layer acts as nature's sunscreen, absorbing and blocking a significant portion of the sun's harmful UV radiation. However, this protective layer becomes thinner during Winter, allowing more UV rays to penetrate the atmosphere.
3. Winter Activities Increase Exposure:
Who doesn't love a snowy adventure? Whether skiing, snowboarding, sledding, or simply building a snowman, these activities put you at higher risk for sun damage due to increased altitude and UV reflection of the snow, reflecting up to 80% of UV rays increasing exposure.
Serum + SPF: The Winter Power Couple
A) Retinol Serum: If you're in your Skin Cycling era and have welcomed retinol into your night routine, it must be paired with its daytime lover, sunscreen! You might be wondering, "Why is sunscreen so crucial when I'm using retinol?" Retinol will make your skin more sensitive to the sun's rays.
How SPF + Retinol Work Together:
- Sun Sensitivity Amplified: Retinol is fantastic at speeding up skin cell turnover. However, this can make your skin more vulnerable to the sun. It's like revealing fresh, delicate skin that needs extra protection.
- Combatting Potential Irritation: Retinol might cause some mild irritation, especially when you're just starting. Sun exposure can exacerbate this irritation, leading to redness or discomfort. Sunscreen acts as a calming shield, reducing the chances of irritation.
- Maximizing Retinol's Benefits: You've invested in retinol for its transformative effects, right? Sunscreen helps preserve those results. It prevents sun damage, which could otherwise counteract the improvements you're working hard to achieve.
- Preventing Pigmentation: Retinol helps fade dark spots and hyperpigmentation, but those pesky spots can easily make a comeback without sun protection. Sunscreen acts as a guardian, ensuring your skin tone remains even.
B) Vitamin C Serum: If you're already basking in the glow-up that Vitamin C brings to your skin, take it up a notch by partnering it with sunscreen.
Think of Vitamin C serum and sunscreen as the dynamic duo of your skincare routine. Together, they form a powerful shield against many skin concerns, creating a comprehensive defense strategy for your skin.
How SPF + Vitamin C Work Together:
- Preserve Your Glow: Vitamin C is a pro at brightening your complexion, diminishing dark spots, and giving you that radiant glow. But sun exposure can dim that sparkle by triggering pigmentation. Sunscreen helps maintain that lit-from-within glow by protecting your skin from UV-induced discoloration.
- Maintaining Skin Health: Vitamin C encourages collagen production, aiding in skin firmness and elasticity. Pairing it with sunscreen ensures that your skin stays supple and youthful by preventing collagen breakdown caused by sun damage.
- Boosting Overall Skin Resilience: Using sunscreen alongside Vitamin C isn't just about the here and now; it's a long-term investment in your skin health. It reinforces your skin's resilience against environmental stressors, ensuring it remains healthy for the long haul.
My Beauty + Wellness Coach Approved Sunscreens
Opt for broad-spectrum SPF that shields against both UVA and UVB rays. More importantly, choose a mineral sunscreen over a chemical sunscreen. Make it a part of your daily routine, especially if you'll be spending time outdoors, and remember those often overlooked areas like the ears, neck, and hands.
Here are my Top 3 approved sunscreens I recommend for glowing and protected skin:
A Little Unfiltered Sun Exposure Has Some Benefits
While the mantra of "protect your skin" is essential, a brief rendezvous with the sun - sans sunscreen - can actually be beneficial for your health. I am talking no more than 10-15 minutes of unfiltered sun on the skin.
A short window of sun exposure without sunscreen—typically in the morning or late afternoon—can provide a daily dose of Vit. D. along with these benefits:
- Mood Booster: Sunlight has been linked to an increase in serotonin production, the hormone that boosts mood and helps fend off feelings of depression. Those few moments in the sun might be the pick-me-up that your body needs.
- Immune System Support: Vitamin D plays a role in supporting your immune system. While it won't prevent all illnesses, ensuring adequate Vitamin D levels can help bolster your body's defense against certain infections.
- Natural Rhythm Balance: Exposure to natural sunlight helps regulate your body's internal clock, aiding in better sleep and overall circadian rhythm regulation. Those rays help synchronize your body to the day-night cycle.
Feel-Good Hormone Boost: Sunlight helps boost serotonin, a chemical in your brain that gives you energy but keeps you calm, focused, and with a more positive outlook.
Remember, moderation is key!
Ways To Achieve a Winter Guilt-Free Glow
Most women get a good dose of dopamine after seeing themselves even the slightest bit more tan than usual. Especially when the weather gets dreary, a subtle golden glow can brighten your day- because the brain believes you've interacted with the sun even when you haven't.
Whether you're headed to a special occasion, going on a mid-winter tropical vacation, or love the sun-kissed look but not the damage caused by UV exposure, there are safe and excellent products to get a sun-kissed radiance year-round.
Customized Spray Tan: My favorite method for a UV-free glow is getting a customized spray tan done by a professional artist.
Whether you prefer a subtle glow or a deep, beachy bronze, spray tans come in a wide range of shades, and professionals can customize the tan to match your desired level of tan or contour-specific areas.
Spray tans offer a smooth, streak-free finish when applied correctly, giving you that natural sun-kissed look without the hassle. Unlike a suntan that fades unevenly, a spray tan gradually wears off over time, allowing you to maintain a consistent glow. Plus, it's low maintenance.
*If you are in Chicago, check out my favorite luxury spray tan boutique, Glamour Girl Tan. They are the BEST at giving me the most natural Winter tan ever.
Self-Tanner: If you are searching for self-tanning products that prioritize natural, non-toxic ingredients while delivering that sun-kissed glow, here are some of the best clean beauty self-tanners to indulge in:
*Remember, preparation is essential for a flawless tan. Shower, shave, and exfoliate the night before your application to ensure an even and long-lasting result. Also, moisturize and wash your body with fragrance-free body products and avoid topical exfoliators for as long as you see your tan.
Let's face it—a bronzed glow can work wonders for your confidence! Feeling good about your appearance can uplift your mood and feel like the most vibrant version of yourself.
Protect Your Skin and Avoid Cumulative Sun Damage
We often associate sunburns and skin damage with Summertime, neglecting the reality of year-round exposure. Over time, cumulative exposure to UV rays, even during the Winter, can lead to premature aging, cellular damage, hyperpigmentation, and an increased risk of skin cancer.
Remember, no matter your beauty archetype, protecting your skin isn't a seasonal task—it's a year-round commitment. So, embrace the chill, but arm yourself with sunscreen to safeguard your skin against the subtle yet potent threat of Winter's UV rays. After all, healthy, protected skin never goes out of style!
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