The winter is setting in, and you might be packing away your swimsuits and flipflops. And probably even your sunscreens, or allowing them to finish. Hold it! And replenish before you run out. More so for the winter!

Yes, that’s right. Dermatologists and experts around the world suggest that sunscreen be worn anytime you plan to spend time outdoors. And Earth’s natural sunscreen – ‘Ozone’ is thinnest during the winter. That explains why it’s needed more in the winter. The list of reasons doesn’t stop just yet.

Sunrays are made of UVA and UVB rays. While the winter sun has much lesser of UVB rays that causes sunburns and even cancer (with prolonged exposure), UVA rays that cause wrinkles and premature aging are just as strong, all year round. Because you aren’t getting sunburnt that easily and enjoying the sun more in the winter, you may tend to ignore the fact that UVA rays are still active. There’s also a constant debate around the body not making enough Vitamin D if you avoid the sun, and that winter months seem so perfect to fill your Vitamin D gaps.

So what do you do? Sit indoors and stick yourself close to the glass window to indirectly soak in the sun?  That might block most of the UVB rays but 50- to 60-percent of UVA rays go right through windows. Or how about you place yourself in the shade with only your legs stretched out in the sun? Doesn’t sound doable right? If you’re out, you’d most likely be doing something and will not be able to avoid sun exposure.

Covering yourself with clothing and wearing sunglasses that shield UV rays, is certainly a good idea. But this still leaves some body parts exposed to the sun. A smarter way to ensure you stay healthy, happy and shining with youth, this winter and many more to come, is to simply be equipped with a sunscreen moisturiser at all times. Winter. Summer. Monsoon. Outdoor. Indoor. Sunny. Cloudy. Day. And night! That’s right! And it’s not difficult to do. You just need to make your sunscreen lotion or moisturiser a part of your regime. Just the way cleanser, toner, moisturiser currently is.

When and how much to apply? At least 30 minutes before you head out in the sun, and apply liberally on all body parts that are likely to stay exposed. Another debate is around how much SPF should you go for? Indian skin can stay well protected with SPF-30. What we probably tend to ignore is the fact that SPF-30 covers the UVB rays but be sure to look out for something called ‘broad spectrum’ or ‘full spectrum’ which will ensure to keep you covered against both UVA and UVB rays. Even if you get to see formulas like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide in the ingredients, rest assured that the sunscreen offers a ‘broad spectrum’ coverage.

How to apply and when to re-apply? Sunscreens are most effective when applied directly on the skin. Which means it should be the first layer under any other skin or beauty product. On days of prolonged sun exposure, it is recommended that the sunscreen be re-applied every two hours.

So get out there, safe and let nothing hold you from enjoying the season!

Stay well.

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