Why You Still Need Sunscreen During Winter, Plus 9 Best Sunscreens for Year-Round Protection

BY Gracee Tolentino · January 25, 2017


Think you only need to worry about sunburn during summer? Think again! The truth of the matter is that the majority of the UV damage we receive isn’t always from spending an entire day at the beach. It’s from your day to day activities—driving in a car during daylight, for instance—or during winter when sun protection is likely the last thing on your mind. And if you’re hitting the slopes this season, your risk of burning becomes even greater.

According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, “UV radiation exposure increases 4 to 5 percent with every 1,000 feet above sea level.” This means that the higher your altitude, the higher your risk of sun-induced skin damage. And because snow reflects up to 80 percent of the UV light from the sun, you are often hit by the same rays twice!

To keep your skin protected, experts advise to use sunscreen all year round (yes, even during colder months!). Make sure you’re using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, higher if you’re at the beach or the mountains. And remember, no matter how high the SPF, the FDA recommends reapplying sunscreen every two hours for optimal protection. For the best sunscreens to use for winter, we’ve collated our favorites below!

1. EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

Why we love it: Its smooth formula features moisturizing hyaluronic acid and the refining power of lactic acid to clear pores and reduce shine.

What shoppers say: “Great moisturizer with excellent SPF coverage. I apply it every day under my makeup. It’s very lightweight and not greasy at all.” —Pembroke Pines, FL

2. Supergoop SPF 50 Antioxidant-Infused Sunscreen Mist with Vitamin C

Why we love it: This sunscreen goes beyond protecting your skin against damaging UVA and UVB rays. It also features vitamin C, which neutralizes free radicals and replenishes vital nutrients for healthy, radiant skin. Its oil-free formula offers up to 80 minutes of water-resistant protection and leaves your skin with a clean, fresh scent.

What shoppers say: “I like that is non-greasy and light on your body; Of course it also helps that it does not contain the harmful oxybenzone chemical.”—Charlotte, NC

3. SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 50

Why we love it: Its sheer-tint Color-Infused Technology enhances all skin tones and boosts radiance for a healthy glow.

What shoppers say: “This sunscreen is awesome. It is light and covers my skin imperfections at the same time. I use it faithfully and most of the time wear it and nothing else.” —Lake Charles, LA

4. CoTZ Lip Balm SPF 45

Why we love it: Because your lips need sunscreen too! This lip balm with SPF features vitamins C and E to neutralize free radicals and encourage collagen production while richly emollient sunflower seed oil and circulation-boosting ginger root extract plump and soften your lips.

What shoppers say: “The product goes on smoothly and does not have an unpleasant taste. Lipstick goes on smoothly over the product. I love it.” – Stanton, IA

5. Dermalogica AGE Smart Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50

Why we love it: Rich in emollients, this daily lotion fortifies your natural barrier with peptides and a hydrating veil of hyaluronic acid.

What the shoppers say: “It is not heavy, but it keeps my skin fully hydrated all day. The SPF 50 is a bonus as I’m not one to remember to use sunscreen and I’m outside most of the time.” —Eugene, OR

6. COOLA SPF 30 Face Classic Sunscreen - Cucumber

Why we love it: It moisturizes, soothes and protects your skin from the sun—just a few reasons we think this is one of the best sunscreens available. But what makes it stand out? Organic strawberry extract tones and minimizes our pores while plankton extract helps rejuvenates the skin. Plus, it smells amazing!

What shoppers say: “It is very light and does not leave an oily residue on your face. Great for traveling, wish it came in a larger size.” – Los Angeles, CA

7. La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra

Why we love it: This revolutionary SPF has an advanced filtering system that delivers long-wearing broad-spectrum protection, as well as patent-pending Cell-Ox Shield that combats environmental damage. Fragrance- and paraben-free, this non-comedogenic formula is water-resistant and is ideal for all skin types, especially oily and sensitive skin.

What shoppers say: “The texture is light, the coverage complete, highly recommended by my dermatologist. A bit pricey, but a small amount on face goes a long way.”—Englewood, NJ

8. Colorescience Sunforgettable Loose Mineral Powder Brush SPF 50

Why we love it: Suitable for even the most sensitive skin, Colorescience’s mineral powder provides sheer coverage to even out your complexion as it protects your skin against the sun’s harmful rays. Best part? The easy-to-use brush applicator makes it a whole lot easier—and a tad less messy—to reapply our sunscreen every two hours.

What shoppers say: “I’ve been using this product for 9 years. Can’t go without it. Nice for a little color, a little oil control, slight coverage and great sun protection. Compact and easy to use.”— Torrance, CA

9. MDSolarSciences Mineral Creme Broad Spectrum SPF 50

Why we love it: Aside from superb sun protection, this sunscreen features antioxidant-rich green tea, cranberry fruit, pomegranate extracts and vitamin C to nourish your skin and up your defenses against sun damage. Plus, its “barely there” texture is not only gentle enough for all skin types but also works for children as young as 6 months old.

What shoppers say: “This sunscreen is seriously great. It doesn’t leave a white cast, it soaks right into my skin but doesn’t leave it greasy so I can leave it as is, or apply makeup on top. Plus no irritation! I have combination (acne-prone) and sensitive skin, so a lot of products will either make my skin red and/or cause breakouts, and this one doesn’t! Totally worth the price.” — Mesa, AZ


Gracee Tolentino

Gracee Tolentino is the managing editor of the Dermstore Blog. After spending 10 years of her writing and editing career working in the travel and food industries, she finally found her true calling: beauty, health and wellness. In her spare time ... Read More >

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