Do I need SPF in winter?
When it’s summer and we’re hitting the beach every day, it’s easy to remember to slip, slop, slap.
But when the clouds come out and the days turn cooler, it’s harder to remember the importance of daily sunscreen.
Even when we can’t see the sun, it’s still crucial to apply SPF each day to protect our skin from harmful UV rays.
“Looking after our skin requires protecting it from UVA and UVB rays — the invisible radiation that’s harmful to the skin, ” Anh Nguyen says.
“UVA rays are more harmful, causing damage to the skin, skin cancer and premature ageing — and these are present all day, every day at the same intensity whether the sun appears to be out or not.”
Mark Strickland, SunSmart manager at Cancer Council Western Australia, says the daily UV levels — even in winter — will reach a point where sunscreen is required each and every day.
“It’s important to apply SPF30+ or higher sunscreen whenever you’re going to be outside for more than a few minutes and the UV index is three or higher, ” he says.
“For most parts of Australia, daily winter UV levels will reach three or higher for some time in the middle of each day.”
Experts recommend wearing sunscreen with the highest-level protection you can get your hands on — ideally an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or above.
“I believe it’s imperative we all apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 — preferably 50 , ” Dr Nguyen says.
Dr Sarah Paton, of Laser Skin Care Australia says while not everyone is at the same risk of being harmed by the sun’s rays, she still recommends daily sunscreen for those who are outdoors during the day — even in winter.
“Skin colour is predominantly produced by a pigment called melanin – it will give the skin a certain SPF, so there’s a level of protection for darker skin types, ” she says.
“Saying that, I see a lot of people who have significant sun damage, whether it’s pigmentation or skin cancers.
“My advice is always to wear sunscreen every day.”