Psst... You're Supposed to Wear Sunscreen Year-Round

That means during the winter, too.

sunscreen year round

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In the summer when the sun is shining, we (hopefully) don't think twice about slathering ourselves in SPF. However, wearing sunscreen shouldn't be limited to sunny summery conditions only. In fact, applying sunblock daily — regardless of the time of year or the weather — is essential in keeping skin healthy and protected against the sun's damaging UV rays. Still, there are a lot of myths surrounding sunscreen which can cause confusion about which kind of sunblocks to use, as well as how, where, and when to apply (and reapply) them. To learn more about the dos and don'ts of wearing sunscreen, I'm putting together a complete guide to this must-have skincare product.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about wearing sunscreen.

The Facts

Sun damage is cumulative, so the 15 minutes you might spend walking the dog, waiting for the train, and picking up lunch all add up — even when it's freezing outside.

I came to this realization over two decades ago after a friend in their late 20s was diagnosed with skin cancer. It really sparked something in me, and ever since, I’ve devoted my life to changing the way people think about sunscreen in the hopes that we can one day put the epidemic of skin cancer behind us.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with skin cancer over the course of their lifetime. These stats are staggering — especially when you realize that this is something that’s so preventable.

In fact, research shows that 90% of all skin cancers, including melanoma, are directly related to UV radiation from the sun. Knowing this, you might wonder what’s preventing people from wearing sunscreen year-round — so let's explore.

The Disconnect

These days, it seems to be common knowledge that sun exposure can lead to skin cancer, but the honest truth is that our brains have been programmed otherwise. For decades, we’ve bought into marketing campaigns that position SPF as a warm-weather essential.

Now there is thankfully a lot more conversation about sunscreen and advances in the types of sunscreen available. But what concerns me most is that the dialogue is still anchored in the summer, and how fragile and fleeting the concept of “cool” is. Although SPF is cool now — just ask TikTok — when I started Supergoop! over 15 years ago, it was anything but.

While I’m super happy to see sunscreen getting the product buzz it deserves, as someone who has lived, breathed, and dreamt about SPF for so long, I think it’s important to caution us all against calling it a trend. By its very definition, a trend does not last. Plus, our society names and cycles through trends quickly, so I want to be sure that we don’t let that happen to SPF.

Tips for Wearing Sunscreen

Here's my PSA: Wear SPF every day, rain or shine — and for every single season.

For instance, when was the last time you were told to stock up on SPF in the winter? Probably never. However, UV rays can be just as damaging during the winter as when summer rolls around. And despite how suncare products have been traditionally marketed, it isn’t just about bathing suits and the beach. It’s about incremental exposure over time.

Even if you're spending most of your time indoors, you should still be wearing sunscreen (yes, really). That's because UVA rays can penetrate through windows and cause skin damage, like premature signs of aging.

The Bottom Line

We’ve come so far in the education and availability of better sunscreen options, so I urge you to continue to wear it daily — and keep protecting your skin, every single season. Rethinking your habits with new daily rituals takes work, but I can attest that preserving your skin and overall health can be just as easy as applying your favorite products. It wasn’t too long ago that we had to convince people to wear seatbelts in cars and helmets on bikes, so it’s my hope that applying SPF year-round will soon become the same.

Holly Thaggard is the founder of Supergoop!

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