As the leaves fall from their trees and the chill settles in, we're getting ready for the winter, and we wanted to share some ways that you can keep your skin looking young, fresh, and beautiful for the months ahead.

When you think of skincare in the winter, you probably think of dry skin. While we will never deny that it is important to stay moisturized in the winter, we want to talk about the unexpected hero of healthy winter skin: daily sun protection.

Why SPF is Important During the Winter

UVA/UVB Damage

The greatest enemy to healthy skin in the winter is actually not bitter wind and cold air -- it's the sun. In the summer, we released a series of articles on the effects of sun damage, choosing the right sunscreen, and the best practices for sun protection because sun protection is top of mind in the summer when we can feel the heat of its rays. But just because we might not see or feel the sun does not mean it's not as strong as ever and able to cause premature aging and even skin cancer.

In fact, harmful UVA (aging rays) and UVB (burning) rays can penetrate through clouds, fog, rain, and even snow. Snow can also reflect up to 80% of the sun's natural UV light, meaning the rays can hit you twice -- from both the sky and the ground! UV light can also penetrate windows.

Wearing a daily sunscreen or makeup with SPF in the winter can help protect you from premature aging and skin cancer associated with the sun's rays. 

Blue Light Damage

Blue light is light emitted from electronic devices with screens, such as your cell phone, computer, tablet, or television. Because screens can bounce rays back into your face, they can increase your UV exposure by up to 35%, but the blue light they emit can also be harmful.

Blue light has been known to create inflammation, redness, and hyperpigmentation in the skin because it can break down healthy collagen and elastin, leading to wrinkles. Because we now live in a world where consistent interaction with screens is inevitable, wearing an SPF can help decrease the effects of blue light. 

Damage from Air Pollution

The sun and blue light are not the only threats to healthy skin in the winter. Air pollution can cause inflammation or redness in the skin as well as hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, fine lines, and loss of natural elasticity.

Weakened Skin Barrier

Because the cold winter months can dry out your skin and weaken your natural barrier, your skin becomes more vulnerable to sun and environmental damage. Aggressive skin procedures or routines can weaken the barrier even further.

In the winter, it makes good sense to be even more aware of the damages you are allowing to happen to your skin -- and then do anything you can to prevent them!

Year-Round Skin Protection at Helendale

At Helendale Dermatology and Medical Spa, we offer an abundance of high-quality products that you can adopt into your skincare routine to protect your skin no matter what time of year it is. If you're not sure where to start, our staff is trained to assist you in determining the products and regimen that make sense for your unique skin type. 

One of our favorite products for daily SPF is Colorescience's Sunforgettable Total Protection Duo that consists of the Sunforgettable Age Defense Mineral Shield and the Daily Up Protector. These products are so light that they feel like nothing but protect from everything.