It’s no secret that the winters in Central Pennsylvania are tough. The freezing walk to class, the dreary clouds, the unpredictable weather and the need to stay indoors for as long as possible are all constants at the start of the spring semester. Aside from a warm spring break vacation, most of us find ourselves lacking in color throughout the winter months.
While self-tan can help, many people look forward to getting back their natural summer glow during spring break in March.
However, although the sun may not shine very brightly in the winter, the sun is still very much at work. For this reason, SPF becomes vital in protecting the skin throughout the entire year, even in colder months.
SPF stands for sun protection factor, which measures the ability to protect against the sun’s rays. Specifically, SPF measures the ability to protect against UVB rays, which are the rays that cause sunburns. However, broad-spectrum sunscreens are more useful for those reaching for sun protection in the winter.
When you see the words “broad spectrum” on sunscreen, that means the sunscreen also protects against UVA rays. UVA rays are the rays that cause aging, skin cancer and skin damage. So, why should you wear sunscreen in the winter even when we don’t feel the heat of the sun’s rays? It’s not getting burnt what should worry you, it’s the sun’s damage to your skin that should.
You may be asking, why would I need sunscreen if I’m hardly outside at all? Whether you’re skiing for Ski Club, walking from downtown to Forum at 3 p.m, or sitting in Thomas 100 for your 8 a.m, sunscreen can protect delicate skin from all forms of light you encounter throughout the day.
In an interview with Vogue, New York Dermatologist Dendy Engelman said:
“Recent data indicate that pigment cells can be stimulated not only by the sun’s bright UV rays but even by lower doses of ambient and infrared light emitted by your computer screen or overhead lamps.”
This means that the lighting in your lecture hall and the glare of your computer screen as you scroll through Canvas could be causing skin damage without you even knowing it. So, whether you’re spending 5 hours outside or just 5 minutes, sunscreen can protect your skin from any form of damage.
If you’re unsure how to start incorporating SPF into your morning routine, VALLEY recommends getting a facial sunscreen and keeping it with the rest of your makeup. Put sunscreen on before moisturizer in the mornings and then continue with the rest of your routine. If you think you might have trouble remembering to put on sunscreen, try to find makeup (like foundation or powder) that includes SPF.
When it comes to choosing your winter sunscreen, it’s essential to look for an SPF of 30 or higher. Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30+ will help protect your skin from cancer and aging.
There are so many options for sun protection —whether face makeup or a sunscreen, there is truly something for everyone. Here are some of the best.
Neutrogena – Healthy Defense, SPF 50 ($11.99)
With these products in hand, you can stay protected from the sun all year round and start preventing sun damage sooner rather than later.