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Why You Still Need SPF in the Winter

(And you need the right one for your SkinSize)

Many of us are still completely unaware that suncream isn’t just for summer! As Dermatologists, we are demanding you get the SPF back out of storage right now. And to help, we’ve put together everything you need to know about using sun protection in the winter, and why every ‘SkinSize’ has their own needs 

So what is sun damage and how can we notice it in our skin? 

Sun damage is caused by electromagnetic radiation coming down to earth from the sun. This hits off the skin and causes cellular changes. Further down the line, we see the consequence of this in our skin. 

Electromagnetic Radiation? Sounds complex but stick with us. 

This is made up of Ultraviolet, A,B and C, Visible light and Infra-red light. These penetrate the skin, causing changes to the DNA of our cells, leading to skin cancer. We often don’t notice these changes at first, as they are happening over a period of time, but instead, we see them as aging. When we think about the ageing of our skin, we often think of chronological age, however skin aging is accelerated by the light we expose it to! 

Ultraviolet A is responsible for pigment change in the skin, sun spots, and broken veins across the face. The damage to our collagen production and elastic fibres also causes the skin to become more wrinkled, leading to the fine lines and chicken skin appearance! 

Did you know – Just by using a broad spectrum SPF, in four years time, your skin will be 23% younger than those who do not! 

Ageing is not the only effect of sun damage

Contrary to some myths out there, your Rosacea and Acne are most likely NOT going to be helped by the sun. 

So what really happens? Ultraviolet radiation actually clogs up follicles on the skin, triggering inflammation and redness. Prolonged exposure to the sun, without protection is really just causing photo-damage and will make symptoms worse. 

Is your sunscreen making you break out?

Often those suffering from Acne, or other skin irritations will find oily sunscreens appear to clog their pores and make symptoms worse. Your ideal SPF will work with your skin’s barrier and sebum levels. This will be different for each person and their SkinSize! 

At Klira, we developed the online SkinSize Diagnostic Test. To find your true SkinSize and ensure every product you use is loved by your skin. 

UV Light and Chemical Sensitivities

Did you know that Ultraviolet light can trigger sensitivities to chemicals on the skin.

Yes, your perfume could now be causing you harm! 

These are chemicals we may not normally be allergic to. However, when exposes to UV radiation, they cause an irritancy through photosensitisation. Fragranced products including perfumes and many facial creams/wipes are all included in this. So when possible, we recommend you stick with the natural or fragrance free products!

Now we know what you’re thinking. Does my melanin have any say in my protection? Let’s start simple.

What is Melanin?

Melanin is a wonderful chemical made up of melanocytes. These are large pigment producing cells that deposit melanin on top of the skin cells, protecting them in response to ultraviolet light and sun damage. 

Everyone has the same number of melanocytes, however is different in their capability of producing melanin. This is what determines your skin colour. 

Those with pale skin are less capable of producing melanin, and so will have little in the way of protecting themselves from UV rays, making them more susceptible to skin cancers. On the other end of the spectrum, those with darker skin and more melanin are better protected from this sun damage. However they need a lot more ultraviolet and radiation to make vitamin D. 

Dark spots, melasma and other forms of uneven pigmentation are often seen as a result of sun damage in those who produce more melanin, as you are more susceptible to laying down extra pigment.

Therefore it is essential that all skin types wear an SPF! 

  • For those with darker skin tones, we recommend you stay away from SPFs with a lot of zinc oxide or titanium oxide, as this can make the skin look white and chalky. 
  • And those with lighter skin tones, avoid tinted sunscreens. These have usually been developed for people of darker skin and the product is formulated accordingly. The different filters may not be tolerated by your SkinSize! 

When is best to apply SPF?

You should apply your SPF first thing in the morning, before or after moisturizing. Focus on applying to your face, neck, ears and chest area. The chest is particularly important for women, as this area is actually incredibly thin and is very susceptible to ultraviolet damage! 

Our advice is to put this on twice! Apply the cream, let it sink in then apply again to ensure you haven’t missed a spot. 

Why? Most of us do not apply enough sunscreen to our skin to give its intended protection. You need one teaspoon of your chosen SPF for your face, chest and neck. 

In winter months, you can top up in late afternoon, with a cream, spray or powder, if you have spent a lot of the time exposed to the sun. In summer months, you will need to top up by lunch time and again in late afternoon/ evening if outside. With so many good SPFs available this is possible even over makeup. 

So to summarise, is SPF really essential in winter? 

Yes! Coming into the winter months, it can be tempting to lock the SPF away in the cupboard. However, this isn’t just about our time in direct sunlight. UVA rays can penetrate clouds and glass and it’s this ultraviolet light that is doing the aging and photodamage to the skin. Continue applying your sunscreen daily! 

And to find the best SPF for your SkinSize, take our SkinSize test and join the Klira World. Where we provide effective skincare, specific to your skin, like a dermatologist (because we are!)