• Shilpa Bhim

Why You Need To Wear SPF All Year Round

Updated: Aug 4, 2019

Growing up in New Zealand, the importance of wearing sunscreen in the summer was drilled in to me from a very young age (anyone else remember the old slip, slop, slap and wrap saying?!)

Of course, being of Indian heritage also meant that I was encouraged to avoid the sun altogether. But, I just couldn’t help myself, I love being out in the sun!

However, I am glad that I was made aware of how harmful the sun can be to our skin and encouraged to protect it, regardless of whether that encouragement came from a sun-safety perspective, or an avoid getting dark skin perspective.

Most of us are generally know that while the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays give us a tanned summery look, they are also pretty harmful to our skin. So, we tend to make an effort to wear sunscreen and put on hat and some sunnies during the summer months.

But what about during winter. The sun isn’t actively shining down on us everyday, so there’s probably no need to wear sunscreen, right?

Not quite.

While it may not be sunny all day everyday during winter, the sun’s rays are still present all year round.

Most of you will probably know that there are two main types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. I’m going to break these down further for you.

UVA Rays

UVA rays are known as long wave rays. About 95 per cent of rays that reach the earth’s surface are UVA rays, which are present all year round.

UVA rays are pretty powerful and can penetrate your skin far deeper than UVB rays. They make you more tan, but also cause signs of ageing like wrinkles and dark spots. They can also penetrate clouds and glass.

UVB rays

UVB rays are known as short wave rays and they don’t penetrate your skin as deeply as UVA rays do.

They are usually more intense from Spring to early Autumn (during sunny hours) and cause your skin to burn.

UVB rays are not as likely to reach the earth’s surface during winter, but that being said, some still make it and reflect off ice and snow, making them a bit of a threat if you’re skiing on a sunny winters day for example.

A simpler way to distinguish between the two UV rays is to remember that UVA ages (and is present all year round) and UVB burns (and can still get you on sunny winter days).

So turns out we should be wearing sunscreen everyday, rain or shine (or cloudy).

While there are different levels of sun protection factor (SPF) across different sunscreen brands, most dermatologists recommend SPF 30 for everyday use, and SPF 50 before participating in outdoor activities.

Personally, I like to use SPF 50 as much as possible, particularly for my face. My favourites include:

For face:

Mecca Cosmetica’s To Save Face SPF 50

This is my go to daily face moisturiser. It not only offers broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays, it also contains hyaluronic acid, pomegranate extract and vitamin E (aka good stuff for your skin). The formula itself is non greasy and non whitening - so it doesn’t give your skin that ashy look (big problem, especially when you’re a brown skin girl!) I love wearing it on its own, or under makeup.

Supergoop Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50

Supergoop's SPF 50 face mist is an absolute life saver if you need to reapply sunscreen but are wearing makeup. All you need to do is spray it all over your face, give it around 10-20 seconds to soak in, and you're good to go! What I love about this mist is it sprays evenly across your face, doesn't leave any white marks and provides you with sun protection without messing up your makeup - it's a total game changer!

For body: Bondi Sands SPF 30 Sunscreen Oil

This also offers offers broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays, and nourishes/moisturises your skin while providing sun protection. because it’s an oil formula, it blends in quickly and seamlessly and doesn’t give your skin an ashy look (big tick in my book). Oh, and it smells amazing!

La Roche Posay Ultra Light Body Spray Sunscreen SPF 50

La Roche Posay products are perfect if you have sensitive skin. This sunscreen is non-comedogenic, which means the ingredients won't clog or block your pores. The product is pretty lightweight and doesn't feel greasy at all. I find I have to really rub it in to my skin, but once it's rubbed in, it doesn't leave behind any white or ashy marks.

What are some of your favourite sunscreens to use? Do you use different sunscreens in the summer and in the winter? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below!