Should you protect your skin from UV rays in winter?

If many people are careful to put on sunscreen in summer, the reflex in winter is not so obvious and sunscreens are also much less highlighted in stores at this time.

So what should you really do this season? This article is here to answer that question.

What is UV?

Solar radiation is mainly composed of five rays :

  • infrared

  • visible light

  • Ultraviolet

  • X-rays

  • Gamma Rays

However, UV radiation is dangerous for our body and can be emitted both by the sun and also via artificial sources such as a tanning lamp.

They are completely invisible to the human eye and do not provide any sensation of heat. Infrared radiation is responsible for this.

There are two types of UV radiation: UVA and UVB . UVA rays are little filtered by the atmosphere and represent 95% of UV rays, while UVB rays are better filtered.

However, both present deleterious health risks by accelerating skin aging, causing sunburn, hyperpigmentation and even skin cancer.

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And in winter ?

In winter, UVB rays, responsible for sunburn , decrease, explaining the marked decrease in sunburn, but UVA rays are still present! Although they do not burn as much as UVB rays, they are nevertheless responsible for aging of the skin with progressive deterioration and the appearance of brown spots .

In winter, our skin is much more fragile since it has become unaccustomed to the intensity of the rays and has lost its tan. In addition, the cold masks the feeling of heat that the sun gives to our skin and is a real trap for burns. The nose, neck, ear are particularly the targets at this time.

We think, wrongly, that the presence of clouds in winter completely filters the passage of UV rays. A cloudy sky, for example, will allow 90 to 95% of UV rays to pass through. This percentage varies according to the thickness of the clouds: a sky heavily cloud-laden, dark and stormy will not allow radiation to pass.  

The higher the altitude, the less the atmosphere absorbing UV radiation will be. For every 1000m of elevation, the UV intensity increases by 10%.

L’herbe, l’eau ou encore le sol ne reflètent que moins de 10% des UV. La neige va doubler l’exposition que peut avoir une personne.

You should also remember to protect your eyes, which are particularly sensitive to this phenomenon. Indeed, infrared radiation (responsible for the sensation of heat), can burn the eyelids, dry out the cornea and be responsible for eyestrain.


How to protect yourself from UV rays in winter and in the mountains?

In the mountains, sunscreen is essential and should be applied 2 to 3 times a day. A minimum of SPF 30 should be applied to ensure adequate protection. Think well of the lip balm with sun protection included in order to avoid aggression of this often forgotten part of the body.

In addition, sunglasses or ski goggles will be essential to protect your eyes. Make sure that the glasses have the CE mark with protection category 3 or 4.

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