Sun protection in winter? There’s reason to believe that keeping up sun protection in the colder months is key to looking years younger. See, most people forego the sun protection when it gets chilly and cloudy – you don’t feel the sun or perceive it as that much of a threat anymore. But this can be a mistake if you consider that a recent study found that the sun accounts for up to 80% of visible and premature skin ageing.
Reported in the medical journal Clinical, Cosmetic And Investigational Dermatology, researchers found that while assessing the wrinkles, texture and pigmentation on the faces of almost 300 people aged between 30 and 78 (half classified as “sun seekers” and half as “sun avoiders”), and comparing their real age with the apparent “skin age”, UV damage seems to account for 80% of visible skin ageing. And, where the damage was calculated to be more than 80% in an individual, that person visibly looked older than their real age (less than 80% and they looked younger).
And, as we’ve recently shown, when it comes to sun damage, you’re likely most at risk when you don’t expect it. In our post on analysing how well you are protected, we learned that you’re likely most vulnerable to sun damage when it’s cloudy, during autumn and winter, while driving and while indoors, purely because you don’t expect the sun to be as damaging and therefore don’t plan for it.
Here’s why keeping up the sun protection in winter is a must.
1. UVA LEVELS STAY PRETTY MUCH CONSTANT ALL YEAR ROUND
While winter cloud cover might soak up most of the “burning” UVB rays from the sun, studies have shown that “ageing” UVA rays pass right through clouds. In fact, the same amount of UVA is recorded on the planet surface in winter as it is in summer.
Did you know that under the right conditions on a partly cloudy day, the clouds can even concentrate sunlight and increase the amount of UV light in a phenomenon called the “broken cloud effect”?
And UVA is particularly damaging because it suppresses your body’s immune system and causes oxidative DNA damage, which is associated with ageing and even illness.
2. THEN THERE’S INFRARED AND VISIBLE LIGHT TOO
As we’ve pointed out a few times now, there’s more to sunlight than just UVA and UVB. Most broad-spectrum sunscreens only offer protection of UVA and UVB, which is why they’re only effective 53% of the time (which is why you should be using the much more advanced year-round sun-protecting power of Lamelle Helase 50, but more on that later).
But additional wavelengths of sunlight, infrared and visible light, ramp up the free radical count in your body, promoting oxidative stress, indirect DNA damage and even hyperpigmentation. And both infrared and visible are still present in winter time.
3. DAMAGING UV CAN PASS THROUGH GLASS AND WINDOWS
Think you’re safe in winter because you spend more time indoors? Not quite. UVA, infrared and visible light can all pass straight through glass. So you’re at risk of UV damage even through closed windows at home, the office or while travelling.
4. WIND AND LOWER TEMPERATURES CAN MAKE YOUR SKIN MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO UV DAMAGE
Icy winds and the fluctuating temperatures we associate with winter (moving between the chilly outdoors and into heated offices, cars and homes) dry out your skin and can cause sensitivity and often lead to skin barrier damage. All of these make your skin more susceptible to UV damage.
In fact, it’s just as important to keep reapplying your sun protection throughout the day in winter as it is in summer
5. WEARING SUN PROTECTION YEAR-ROUND (INCLUDING WINTER) HAS BEEN FOUND TO PROTECT AGAINST AGEING
A 2013 Australian study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine studied 903 people under the age of 55 over a period of four and a half years, some using sunscreen every day, some whenever they liked and some almost never at all. The study found that those who used sunscreen every day, winter and summer, showed improvements in skin ageing (some reports site up to 24% reduction in skin ageing, but that’s unconfirmed).
Another 2016 study published in Dermatologic Surgery found that sun protection worn every day (365 days) for one year showed remarkable results in combating photo-ageing.
So, the message is clear: you need to keep up the sun protection in winter and summer.
But there’s another layer to the story. Remember how we said that broad-spectrum sunscreen is no longer enough?
THE KICKER: NORMAL SUNSCREEN ONLY OFFERS 53% PROTECTION
Basic broad-spectrum sunscreen only protects you from UVB and the bulk of UVA damage. So what about the damaging infrared and visible light?
Recent studies have shown that even SPF as high as 50 can only protect you from 53% of the damage the sun really does to skin, winter and summer. So how do you get even better protection? Switch up to Lamelle Helase 50.
FULL-CIRCLE SUN PROTECTION WITH HELASE 50
Lamelle Helase 50 is so much more than a sunscreen. Yes, it contains SPF 50, to provide the same basic protection from UVA and UVB. But Helase 50 goes well beyond that to also protect you from damaging infrared and visible light, plus it boosts your body’s DNA-healing systems and can even reverse recent DNA damage.
What Helase 50 does:
- Protects against the effects of the spectrum of sunlight: UVA, UVB, infrared and visible light – even UVC
- Protects collagen by blocking the formation of MMPs
- Stems oxidative stress in the skin through antioxidants and a TRPV1 blocker
- Boosts your body’s natural DNA-damage-correcting NER systems
- Introduces a newly found enzyme (photolyase) that actually reverses recent DNA damage in hours
It’s the best and most-effective way to keep up your sun protection every day of the year.
If you’re looking to stay sun smart and prevent ageing all year round, speak to your doctor or skincare therapist about getting the full-circle sun protection benefits of Helase 50 today.