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Sunscreen in Winter

The Truth About Wearing Sunscreen in Winter

It's OK to admit you've been slacking on your sunscreen routine this season. Whip yourself back in shape with Allure's sun-safe tips.

Just because you retire your Havaianas and bikini when the temperature drops doesn't mean you should shelve the sunscreen too. The sun emits harmful UV rays all year, whether it's 90 degrees outside or 19. Now I'm going to step down from my soapbox and make a confession: Even though I'm neurotic about sun protection in the summer, I do to get a bit lax (OK, completely negligent) in winter. So I spoke with Debra Jaliman, a New York City dermatologist and author of Skin Rules, about why SPF is still important during colder months.

Related: Dear Winter, Please Stop Ruining My Hair

Why is sun protection necessary throughout the winter?
"First of all, sun damage is cumulative, so every day of your life, even if you're out for 10 minutes, you're getting sun damage. Every morning, first thing, I walk my dog for literally three to five minutes. I wear sunscreen every day, but to walk my dog I didn't do it, and I was getting brown spots. So just five minutes every day does add up."


But I don't really go out much when it's cold.
"Everybody always says to me, 'I'm never outside,' but it's not true. You have to be outside sometimes, even if you take the bus to work or you take the subway. People go out to get lunch or sit by a window, and UVA rays do go through glass, so you're still going to get sun damage."

Do we need to wear different sunscreen in the winter?
"My motto is SPF 30 every day, but I do think that you can wear a thinner, lighter consistency right now. You don't need sweatproof or waterproof when you're going to work. You can certainly use a face lotion with sunscreen, but I wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen, because you don't want to get skin cancer, broken blood vessels, or wrinkles. And physical sunscreens have zinc oxide, so they're very soothing if you're prone to eczema, rosacea or redness."

What are some products that you recommend?
"My favorite is EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 ($29). I'm acne-prone, but I've never seen anybody break out with that one. Neutrogena also makes a great one (Neutrogena Clear Face Break-Out Free Liquid-Lotion Sunscreen ($12)). It's very thin and inexpensive, and it doesn't cause breakouts. I just hate sunscreens that you get those little bumps or acne from, because people don't want to have a new problem from using sunscreen."

What about makeup with SPF?
"I've seen burns when people try to use their makeup as a sunscreen. Makeup isn't substantive enough. But I'll tell you a good trick: A lot of my patients like a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen because they like the color and texture, and there's moisture in it. Bobbi Brown makes one (try Bobbi Brown BB Cream ($42)) and EltaMD makes one that's waterproof (EltaMD Skincare UV Physical SPF 41 ($27))."

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Join The Conversation
Mei38524 Mei38524 4 years
Great post! Below is some additional tips from Dr Ava Shamban at Dr Ava on How to Choose the Right Sunscreen and SPF? Choose a high SPF especially at least SPF50 on higher altitude. Choose one that is not too oily or greasy and comfortable to use (with make-up). If doing sports, need a water-proof or resistant one. Sunscreen on the face is formulated differently with that on the body. Good skin all! Mei
Heather3219716 Heather3219716 4 years
This is good to know! Like the author, I am really good at putting on sunscreen in the summer, but in the winter I simply rely on my BB cream with SPF 15 in it. I've always wondered if that was enough!
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