Sunburn in Winter is Real, Here’s Why You Need Sunscreen Even When It’s Cold

Written by Allison

The suburn in winter threat is real, friend.

Look, getting a sunburn in summer is bad enough. But a sunburn in winter? It’s the worst, and ugh, the thought of having to erase additional sun damage is exhausting! Your skin is already dry and chapped from harsh winter weather, adding a sunburn to the mix is just insult to injury. We’re sunscreen advocates all year long because, yes, you do need to wear sunscreen in winter.

sun damage in winter

Jeannette Graf, a dermatologist in Great Neck, New York, says sunscreen is super important all year long. Religious application of sunscreen every morning is a requirement if you’re using a prescription retinol. But even non-retinol users need sunscreen “All year round” says Dr. Graf.

“UVA stays the same all year round,” says Dr. Graf, “Which is why broad spectrum sunscreens are important.” She also notes that UVB (the rays that contribute more to burns) is higher in the summer. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a sunburn in winter—even Tesla solar panels are pumping out energy in the winter.

Going to holiday markets sounds cute and all but if you’re outside there is a chance to get sunburned. To avoid a burned up holiday season just apply sunscreen in the mornings! It’s easy enough.

Our favorite fave sunscreens are:

We suggest applying sunscreen as the last step in your morning skincare routine. Cleanse your skin, use any toners, serums, treatments (whatever floats your skincare boat) moisturize, then apply sunscreen.

Starting off on the high points of your face (that usually burn first) isn’t a bad idea. We apply first to the forehead and nose.

Don’t forget the rest of your face though!

Pat your sunscreen in till it disappears and head into your makeup routine if that’s your jam.

But if you manage to skip your sunscreen application (for shame!) and get a sunburn in winter, you’re going to need to treat it. We suggest upping your moisturizer, getting that sunscreen back on rotation, and waiting it out till the burn heals. You can opt to apply a little aloe to help hydrate, but studies show the best sunburn treatment is time.

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About the author


Bio: She's a New Orleans based beauty writer, nail polish hoarder, and doughnut enthusiast. When she isn't camping out in her local coffee shop for hours on end, you'll probably find her taking selfies in front of every colorful wall she's ever seen. Follow along on Instagram @allisonmarieschmidt.

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