Why SPF Is Your All-Season Skincare Essential

By Alison McGill

Winter is coming (sorry!) and though that means less actual sunlight and less time in the sun, you still need your SPF! UV protection is one of the most important steps in your daytime skincare routine (ICYDK the order of product application is serum, oil, moisturizer, SPF), and is not something you drop outside of the summer season. SPF protects your skin year-round from skin damage.

“Sun damage of course can cause skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer,” says Dr, Julia Carroll of Toronto’s Compass Dermatology. “The sun also ages skin to age faster, causes uneven pigmentation and broken blood vessels. Also, it’s a little-known fact that UVA rays stay the same all year long, no matter what the season. It’s important to protect yourself from these deep-penetrating rays in all year.”

Thanks to TikTok, people are not only obsessed with skincare routines but wise to sun protection.  “I love to see it!” Dr. Carroll says.  As we enter autumn, we asked Dr. Carrol for a tune up on how to tweak our SPF use for coming months. Below, her tips for keeping your skin sun-safe and healthy 365 days a year.

As seasons change, do you need to switch the type of SPF product you use?  
“People often prefer a lighter product in the summer, and there are many companies now making an SPF face mist which is an excellent choice. As temperatures drop, it’s a good time to opt for a more moisturizing product like a proper face cream with an SPF of 50.”

If you are outside on a sunny day in cooler temperatures, do you need to reapply SPF as you would in the summer?
“Yes, absolutely! If there’s enough light for you to see your hand in front of your face, then there is enough sun to damage skin. Also, during the winter months, don’t forget about the reflection from snow which can give you a double dose of UV. You should be extra cautious with this when it comes to winter sports, so something like face stick is a great option for protecting your face from the snow’s UV reflection. It’s fits easily into your pocket, making it convenient for outdoor activities.”

What are your SPF must-haves to use 365 days a year?
Choose a daily sunscreen that you love. There are so many choices out there. There are creams, lotions, sprays, gels, sticks—literally something for everyone. I recommend an SPF 30 for daily use. Choose the sunscreen you love with ingredients you like. I most often opt for a combination product with both physical and chemical blockers as it gives a very broad coverage. The best sunscreen for you is the one you’re willing to wear and make a part of your regular routine. Also, don’t forget hats, sunglasses, and sun protective clothing as part of your sun protection strategy.”

Sometimes sunburn happens, what is the best way to treat it? And realistically how long does it take for the red to fade?
“The first step is to get out of the sun! Applying cool compresses can help as can a cooling gel such.  If there is a lot of inflammation, aspirin or ibuprofen can help ease the pain and swelling.”


Sun Bum  SPF 50 Face Cream
$13 for 30ml at well.ca
This water-resistant cream melts into skin and provides a superior barrier against UV rays thanks to a zinc oxide formula boosted with aloe and vitamin E.

Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40
$47 for 50ml at sephora.com
Trust when we say this sunscreen is totally invisible, weightless and scentless—it’s a dream! Bonus points: It also works beautifully as a makeup primer.

Zo Skin Health Sunscreen + Powder SPF45
$85 at zoskinhealth.ca
Brush this powder across bare skin, or over top of foundation, for a hit of broad-spectrum sun protection. We also love that it’s available in three shades— light, medium and deep— to suit all skin tones.

COOLA Makeup Setting Spray SPF 30
$51 for 44ml at well.ca
Lock in your makeup with a few mists of this spray over your finished face. It’s water resistant, infused with hyaluronic acid and imbues skin with a magical mattifying effect.

Sun Bum Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Face Stick
$16 at well.ca
Make this your sun care bestie for when you need to touch up your SPF on the move. This mineral formula is lightweight, not greasy and perfectly packable.

Tags: sunscreen, top story, topstory

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