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Sunscreen During Winters

When it is raining and the sky is cloudy we are tempted to skip sunscreens as we see no sun in the horizon. But sunscreens are all the more important. Even during winters! because the weather allows us to spend more time outdoors exposing us to sun’s damaging UV rays.

Sunscreens are used to protect skin from all forms of light rays emitted from the sun. From the visible light which we can see and feel, to the ultraviolet light which is invisible, but more harmful. UV light is the cause for most photodermatoses, pigmentation, tanning and skin ageing.

A dense cloud cover on a rainy day filters about 50% UV rays at the maximum and that would amount to using a SPF 2 sunscreen, meaning it is inadequate. To protect us from the sun for whatever indication; whether to prevent aggravation of sun induced skin conditions and allergies or to prevent a tan and pigmentation, we need a minimum of SPF 30 which offers about 97% protection.

So, sunscreens should be used appropriately even during the winter. People living in, or visiting cold weather conditions in hill stations and snowy areas, often are reluctant to use sunscreens since the harshness of sun is not felt. But the effects of sun’s UV rays are amplified there due to high altitude and reflection from snow. Skin is less tolerant to sun in hill stations and sun induced conditions are more common.

Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen with physical and chemical actives to filter out most UV rays and use it religiously every day. Apply half an hour before expected sun exposure. It should be reapplied every 3 hours or after water exposure.  Long stay and water resistant sunscreens are available for once a day application. A little cloud and rain is no reason to ditch your sunscreen routine. Wear it rain or shine!

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