Skin Care

Rain Or Shine - Why We Should Always Slather On A Sunscreen

If you're heading off to the beach, then you've no doubt packed your sunscreen alongside your fabulous new shades. But did you know that you should religiously apply a sunscreen no matter where you are and even on the cloudiest of days?

1. Winter sun is just as harmful as its summer sister

During summer we limit exposure to UV rays, avoid the hours between midday and 4pm, dig out our wide-brimmed hats and keep our sunscreens close to hand. However, a winter sun poses just as much danger! During winter the sun's rays hit the earth at a lower angle, but that doesn't mean they won't harm our skin. So even if you're giving winter sports a miss and sticking to your 9 - 5, it's nonetheless vital that you protect yourself. The problem is overcast days can make us forget that, behind the clouds, the sun's still got his hat on!

And, depending on cloud cover, up to 80% of UV rays can still penetrate gloomy skies. To make matters worse, if UV rays hit snowy landscapes we're in even deeper trouble! Our bodies are suddenly bombarded not only by UV rays that pass through clouds, but also ones reflected off the ground.

2. Protect your skin at high altitudes

At the risk of repeating ourselves, don't think that cold weather means the sun's not lurking! Exposure to UVA and UVB rays is the No.1 cause of premature skin ageing: it loses elasticity and thins, whilst wrinkles and liver spots crop up at breakneck speed. Ever got home from the slopes with a sunburned face? This is because the Earth's atmosphere's thinner at higher altitudes and less able to filter out harmful UV rays. Applying a sunscreen is non-negotiable, even if the weather's lousy. Nowadays there are plenty of sunscreens designed to protect us at high altitudes. They filter out UV rays and moisturise our skin. For example, the UV Perfect Transparent Skin by L’Oréal Paris not only shields your skin from the harmful UVA and UVB sun rays but ultra-fine, non-greasy texture of the sunscreen also leaves your skin feeling soft and hydrated. They should also be frequently re-applied throughout the day (same rules as for the beach!).

3. Protect your skin day to day

We don't feel UVA rays on our skin (it's the UVB's that burn). But whether we're stuck behind the wheel in a traffic jam, peering out of the office window or waiting for a bus on a cloudy day, the little devils are still silently attacking our skin. So along with moisturising, protecting our skin from dawn 'til dusk is one of the best wrinkle-busting pre-emptive strikes in our arsenal of anti-ageing weapons. Japanese and American women set good examples - they rarely poke their noses outdoors without applying a sunscreen. The problem with India is its temperamental climate. The weather may be pants, but we still like to show a bit of flesh. So no need to apply an SPF 25 during winter, but do invest in an SPF 15. Or you can kill two birds with one stone, by using a day cream that contains an SPF. Apply it in the morning to keep your skin protected from daytime winter rays.