Summer’s long gone, the cold weather has set in and the long sunny days are a mere memory. We might change our clothing to suit the season, but it’s so crucial that the use of sunscreen doesn’t change, regardless of the weather. Despite the common belief that the sun’s rays aren’t as strong in winter, and therefore our chances of our skin becoming damaged are reduced, this couldn’t be further from the truth. UVA and UVB Rays The sun has two different types of rays; UVA and UVB. UVA rays are the longer rays, which means that they reach all surfaces of the Earth; if there is sunlight, then UVA rays are present. While less intense than UVB rays, they still penetrate through to the basal layer of the skin, causing lasting damage. UVA rays play a major role in skin ageing and can contribute to the development of skin cancers. But worst of all, these rays do not lose intensity in winter, and can penetrate through both clouds and glass, meaning that year-round UVA protection is essential for keeping skin healthy. The intensity of UVB rays varies by season; hence why it is much more difficult to develop a tan in winter. That being said, it is still possible to develop sunburn in winter, particularly when reflective surfaces such as snow or ice are present. UVB rays harm the more superficial epidermal layers of the skin, but are just as dangerous as UVA rays when it comes to developing skin cancers, and damaging the skin. SPF vs. Broad Spectrum You may have heard the terms SPF and broad spectrum when it comes to sunscreen, but it’s important to know the difference between the two. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and is a worldwide standard for measuring the effectiveness of sunscreen in relation to UVB rays. The higher the rating of SPF, the more protection the sunscreen offers against the rays. Broad Spectrum, by comparison, is a measurement of a sunscreen’s effectiveness in blocking out UVA rays. Broad spectrum sunscreens are also designed to protect against both UVA and UVB rays, making it a more effective skin protectant overall. What sunscreen should I be using? Ideally, sunscreen is the first thing to go on your skin in the morning, underneath makeup. A moisturising sunscreen is the best product to use as it keeps skin hydrated while still allowing the sunscreen to protect the skin from the sun’s rays. To protect against both UVA and UVB rays, a broad spectrum sunscreen is recommended, although a broad spectrum/SPF combination will provide the most protection against harmful rays. Ultraceuticals Ultra UV Protective Daily Moisturiser range helps block both UVA and UVB rays, with a range of SPF30 – 50+ available. Their Ultra SunActive SPF 50+ Range has also been developed to help protect the body against the effects of sun damage too. — If you liked this blog, head over to our Journal page to read more of our helpful skincare guides! If you live in Christchurch and new to the world of facials, get in contact with us or make a facial appointment here. Meet the Total Body Concept team on this page, or head over to our online store for some skincare retail therapy!