The Regimen

Yes, You Need Sunscreen Even In Winter

Woman in the snowy mountains applying cream on her face  

The cooler weather and cloudy days of winter might make you think you can put away the sunscreen, but there’s no such thing as cold weather UV immunity. In fact, some winter conditions can make UV more powerful. Protecting your skin from UV damage is a year-round concern.


Is UV weaker in winter?

The sun is strongest during the summer months, but winter sun is deceiving. When the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere is further from the sun, the sun’s rays feel weaker. However, both UVB and UVA rays can still damage your skin.


UVB rays, the ones associated with sunburn, are weaker during winter but still very much in residence, especially at high altitudes where the air is thinner. And if you’re heading out for a day on the slopes, remember that snow reflects up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV light, magnifying the risk of damage.  


UVA rays, which are more associated with premature aging and skin cancer, remain at full strength throughout the year and penetrate through clouds and fog. These rays can also penetrate glass, so your skin can be damaged even when you’re indoors or in your car.


Winter UV facts:

  • UVB is weaker during winter but still damaging.
  • UVA remains constant throughout the year.
  • Both types of UV rays can pass through fog, clouds, smog, and glass.
  • UV rays are more intense at higher altitudes where the thinner atmosphere does less to block harmful rays.
  • Reflective surfaces like snow, ice, or water can reflect UV rays to magnify their strength.


To protect your skin from premature aging and the risk of skin cancer, apply the same rules you do in summer to your winter sunscreen routine.

  • Use a daily foundational sunscreen of at least SPF 15 if your day will be mainly indoors or just out for errands.
  • For outdoor activity, use at least SPF 30. Mineral sunscreen is the best option because it sits on the skin’s surface to block the sun’s rays rather than being absorbed by the skin.
  • Apply 30 minutes before going outdoors.
  • Reapply every 2 hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses or goggles.


What’s the best protection from winter sun? 

Day Treatment Lotion SPF 15 is the perfect daily winter moisturizer. It provides UV protection with a boost of healing and moisturizing ingredients to combat dry winter air. The non-greasy formula absorbs quickly and leaves skin shine-free, so it’s ideal under foundation. Or you can mix it with some mineral powder to create lightweight coverage.

For more protection, bump up to our Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30. This zinc oxide-based formula also contains antioxidant and hydrating ingredients to protect and nourish skin, including grapeseed oil, lactic acid, and whole leaf aloe. Non-comedogenic, paraben-free, reef-safe, non-ghosting, and pregnancy-safe.

Get an added photoprotective boost with this super-antioxidant serum. Vivant's Pure C + E takes advantage of the potent synergy of vitamins C and E in this daily formula for protection and repair. Neutralizes free radicals, protects from damaging UV and environmental stressors, and promotes regeneration of healthier, glowing skin.

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