The 1 Winter Skincare Item Everyone Needs!

photos credits L-R: Savannah Walters on Unsplash ; Adithya Reza on Unsplash ; Photo by Gabriel Silvério on Unsplash

So it’s officially winter! The weather has gotten chilly or straight-up blizzard-like (it has here). Trying to stay warm and navigate the weather can be a challenge. Still you can’t forget to take care of yourself and a big part of taking care of yourself is taking care of your skin! You can only undo so much, so preventing damage to your skin is key. Today I’ll be talking about the 1 skincare item everyone needs in winter: sunscreen!

Packing winter gear like gloves and a scarf? Don’t forget the sunscreen!

A lot of people associate sunscreen with summertime. Sunscreen in your beach bag: pretty typical; sunscreen in your bag alongside your scarf and mittens: not so much. Protecting your skin from sun damage even in the winter is important and here’s 4 reason why you should start now:

1. A Good Sunscreen Should Do More Than Just Prevent Sunburn

Growing up I thought that sunscreen was only meant to protect from getting a sunburn. As a black girl who didn’t burn, I simply didn’t feel the need to wear it. After getting into skincare and learning about it though, I discovered this is entirely wrong! Yes, sunscreen is great for protecting against sunburn, but the UVB rays which cause people to burn are only a portion of the radiation from the sun. UVA rays are what creates lasting physical damage such as hyper-pigmentation, premature wrinkles, and worst contributes in conjunction with UVB rays in the development of skin cancer. Since both types of rays damage skin and contribute to the start of skin cancer, it’s important to protect yourself from both! This is done by broad spectrum sunscreens. Be sure to look for at least Broad Spectrum SPF 15!

2. UV Rays Cause Damage Regardless of How Bright/Dim the Sun Seems

photo credit: Milada Vigerova on Unsplash

A lot of people also associate sunscreen with summer because, the sun seems more intense that time of year. Seems is the important word here. That is another misconception. While it is true that UVB rays are often felt more strongly in the summer when the sun is high and many places have less cloud cover, we can’t forget about those pesky UVA rays. UVA rays are consistent through sunshine, clouds, rain, and even indoors close to your windows! So a cloudy winter and seemingly dimmer/weaker sunshine is not enough to go without sunscreen.

3. All Skin Tones Benefit from Sunscreen

photo credit: Alesia Kazantceva on Unsplash

Another false impression I grew up with is that people with darker skin tones don’t need sunscreen. Whether you are Black, Latinx, Indigenous, or Asian with darker skin, you should still use sunscreen. People with all skin tones can get UV damage and even skin cancer. What’s more is that people of color who do develop melanoma, the most dangerous skin cancer, are less likely to survive than white people who develop it. Black people, specifically, have the lowest rate of survival among melanoma patients. Another disappointing and important factor is that many doctors are not properly taught to identify skin cancer on darker skinned patients. That makes prevention all the more important.

4. There Are More and Better Sunscreens Now

Another reason to jump on sunscreen now is because of the wider range of suitable sunscreens available. When I first learned that I really needed sunscreen, I dreaded using it. My mind went back to the few times at the beach that my mom made us all wear sunscreen. It left an ashy grayish-white tint anywhere I applied it. This white cast is unfortunately common in sunscreens especially when applied on any skin that isn’t pale. Things are slowly changing for the better though. You can now find sunscreen lotion combos or even spray sunscreen which leave less of a white cast. There are even three black-owned brands, Bolden, Unsun (I’ll be doing a short post on this sunscreen soon 😉 ), and Black Girl Sunscreen, that sell sunscreen specifically meant for people with darker skin tones!

Sun care is just as important in winter as it is any other time of the year. Your skin is your largest organ so taking care of it is part of a healthy lifestyle. As more options become available, now is the perfect time to find your perfect sunscreen! Do you have a favorite sunscreen? Share your thoughts in the comments below! As always thanks for reading and bisous! I’ve including links for my sources and further reading below:

https://www.skincancer.org/prevention/uva-and-uvb

https://www.skincancer.org/prevention/skin-cancer-and-skin-of-color

https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer/skin-cancer-in-people-of-color

https://www.webmd.com/melanoma-skin-cancer/features/skin-cancer-people-color#2

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3742002/

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