Protect Your Skin, Even in the Winter

By Maria Martinez
Blog Content Contributor

Winter in Texas sounds like a myth. November is almost over and we just got our first few cold days, and it’s supposed to get warm again. But have a little faith; I am sure the sweater season will eventually be here. Meanwhile, we can start transitioning our closets from shorts and dresses to jeans and leggings. The only thing we must not leave behind is our sunscreen.

Regardless of the temperature or time of year, the sun keeps emitting ultraviolet (UV) rays, which are a type of invisible radiation that can harm our skin and lead to premature aging or skin cancer.

“The sun’s harmful rays are just as strong and damaging despite what your thermometer says,” said Bruce E. Katz, director of JUVA Skin & Laser Center in New York.

At every appointment I have with my dermatologist, she always emphasizes the importance of wearing sunscreen two times a day, every single day. I have to admit that for the longest time, I would only wear sunscreen whenever I went to the beach or to the pool. My incredulous mind thought that my skin only needed protection when I was getting a sun bath, but, obviously, I was wrong.  

Just because it gets colder doesn't mean that you should ditch your sunscreen. Photo by Megan Bandstra.
Just because it gets colder doesn’t mean that you should ditch your sunscreen. Photo by Megan Bandstra.

One day, I started to research what damages overexposure of the sun could cause because I wanted to scare my sister so that I could convince her of why she needed to wear sunscreen to school. This mini research I made scared my sister, but it panicked me too. Since that moment, there is not one day I go out without protecting my skin. I usually apply it 15 minutes before I leave home, so it can fully absorb into my skin. Most doctors recommend wearing a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. SPF stands for sun protection factor. The number it shows in the bottle tells you how well the product will protect you from the burning rays of the sun. The higher the SPF number, the greater the amount of protection.

I know that many people don’t like wearing sunblock because it leaves our face feeling oily. No one enjoys walking around with their face shining brighter than a light bulb. We can find countless options of what would work best on the different types of skin. I have tried many drugstore and expensive products, but, by far, my favorite one is the EltaMD UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40. I love this one because it is a moisturizing facial sunscreen, which means it serves as a sheer sunscreen and it gives my face superior hydration. This sunscreen works best for people who have normal or combination skin. There are two versions, the tinted and untinted. I prefer to use the tinted one, since it has a lightweight coverage and I use it under my makeup as a primer.

Don’t take this issue lightly, this is a very serious problem in our country. According to new research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, the majority of Americans are not regularly using sunscreen to protect themselves from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Anyone can get skin cancer, so everyone should take steps to protect themselves from the sun. The sun has a consistent intensity throughout the day, all year round and can penetrate through clouds and glass. So don’t be fooled by our sky. Even if we don’t directly see the sun’s rays, they are still there. The harmful effects of UV rays are cumulative and their long-term and irreversible effects might not be appreciated until many years later, so start taking care of your skin right now!

Featured image by Megan Bandstra.

Holly Henrichsen

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