The Dangers of the Winter Sun

The below is a copy of a guest post I did over on The Navigatio, a fantastic lifestyle blog written by the lovely Nele. She was kind enough to let me inform her readers about UVA rays and the damage they can do, and offer my recommendations for sunscreen! If you’re interested, head over to her blog!. As always, I hope you learn something new!

It’s a chilly winter morning. You reach over and pull apart the curtains and take a look outside only to see that it’s dark, grey and overcast. The weather report says there’ll be a storm, maybe even snow. “Great!” you think, “I won’t need sunscreen today!”. In fact, you are probably thinking about forgoing sunscreen all winter. You’ll be protected from the sun by those clouds, right?

Wrong! You can and will get some of the most dangerous UV exposure even on the rainiest days of winter. You need to be aware and protect yourself 365 days a year, come rain hail or shine.

What’s the big deal with UV?

We all know by now that sun’s rays cause sunburns, skin ageing and cancer. There are two kinds of these rays; UVA and UVB. When we’re talking about sun damage on cloudy days, the big culprit is UVA. These travel deeply into the skin and cause invisible damage. You can’t feel them burning you, and the side effects they cause are slow acting.

Firstly, UVA rays are the main cause of visible ageing, some studies quoting up to 80%. They’re the culprit behind wrinkles and age spots and also destroy collagen which leads to sagging skin. UVA rays darken freckles and hyperpigmentation as the skin produces melanin to try and protect itself from further damage

But most frightening of all, UVA is to blame for the development of many skin cancers. When melanin is produced, there are sometimes mutations in the cells which can turn into skin cancer. So UVA exposure isn’t something to take lightly.

Why do you have to worry if it’s not sunny?

Unlike UVB, which causes sunburns, UVA rays can penetrate clouds and glass. This means that even in England in the winter time when you’re sitting beside a window, there is just as much UVA hitting your skin as in the height of summer. Because of the lack of sunburn-inducing UVB, most people don’t feel like they’re getting any sun and will skip sunscreen altogether, compounding the problem. I’m definitely guilty of this! But even though UVA is invisible, it’s very much present – making up 95% of all the sun’s rays. If you’re going outside or sitting anywhere with natural lighting, you need to protect your skin to keep it healthy and happy for a long time.

How can you protect yourself?

By far the best way to look after your skin for your whole life is to wear sunscreen religiously. That means applying it every morning no matter what. And with new ingredients being invented all the time, there are loads of cosmetically elegant sunscreens on the market. You should also consider whether your sunscreen is waterproof – if it’s going to be raining, you’ll need something that can stand up to the weather.

I’ve picked out my three favourite wet-weather sunscreens to share with you.

Sunplay Superblock SPF 50+ PA++++ – This is my absolute favourite daily sunscreen. It’s a Japanese chemical and physical ingredient mix that offers full UVA protection (PA++++ is the current highest UVA rating available in Asia). This sunscreen has a runny milk texture that feels light on the skin. It’s also sweat and waterproof!

Neutrogena Beach Defense SPF 70 – This sunscreen is chemical only, meaning there is no white cast it’s great for those with deeper skin tones. It’s a completely invisible liquid that comes in a convenient spray bottle making application quick and easy. The waterproof formula is designed with broad spectrum protection (UVA+UVB) in mind.

Invisible Zinc SPF 50+ – Being a zinc oxide physical sunscreen, this is ideal for sensitive skin or those concerned with chemical filters. It’s less likely to cause reactions or irritation. This is a super waterproof cream and has great UVA protection. It’s also made by a certified cruelty-free brand!

And that’s it! Incorporate sunscreen as your final skin care step in the mornings and you can rest easy knowing you’re avoiding the many complications and risks of UVA exposure. Apply sunscreen every day year round and you’ll be thankful down the road!

Do you have any tried-and-true sunscreens?



  1. […] get popping outdoors, or the overcast light of winter won’t damage their skin (spoiler alert: it does). But by making sunscreen the final step of your routine, you can rest assured that no matter what […]

  2. […] We are lucky to live in an age where there is a plethora of sun protection options, from the beauty conscious to the eco friendly. You should be wearing sunscreen on exposed skin every day you go outside or will be sitting near a window – because UV rays can get through cloud cover and glass. […]

  3. […] your skin sun-sensitive, not wearing any sunscreen, and then getting too much unprotected exposure (which is impossible to avoid, even in the winter), you’ll see virtually no progress – you’ll undo all your hard work, and then some. So do […]

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