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Winter skin care essentials

Heading off for some winter sun? Whether you’re planning a trip to the sea or the slopes, here’s how to make sure your skin is protected.

When the nights are dark and cold in the UK, a week or two overseas can be just what the doctor ordered. A hit of warmth on the face and a top up of vitamin D can certainly boost your mood and restore a little glow to the complexion.

But, it’s important to remember that the sun can be just as damaging in the winter – even if you’re jetting off somewhere cold for a few days of skiing and snowboarding - so adequate sun protection is an essential.

UVA and UVB rays

This is because the sun emits UVA and UVB which is present all year round, even on cloudy days when the sun is far from view. UV rays are harmful to the skin as they create free radicals: small molecules that start a process of oxidative stress. This can cause deep structural damage to the skin and, over time, lead to a breakdown of proteins such as collagen and ageing signs to appear prematurely – think lines, wrinkles and pigmentation. It can also, most importantly, put the skin at risk of cancer.

But what exactly does UVA and UVB mean and why should you make sure your sunscreen protects you from both? UVA is a long-wave ray of light that accounts for around 95% of the UV that reaches our skin. It’s also responsible for causing skin cancers and premature photo ageing.

UVB however is greater in the summer when the sun is at its strongest. As such, it doesn’t reach quite as deeply into the skin as UVA does but can contribute to diseases such as skin cancer and top-level skin damage such as pigmentation and burning. This is why it’s vital that the sunscreen you apply is labelled as broad-spectrum and protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

Choosing the best sunscreen

When it comes to choosing a sunscreen that’s right for you, look for a formula that has a high SPF of a minimum of 15 and in a texture that suits your skin type. You can now choose from a variety of roll-ons, sprays, gels and ultra-light fluids that sink into the skin like moisturiser.

La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Shaka Ultra-Light SPF 50+ is an excellent way to protect your skin all year round, as it has broad-spectrum protection and a very high SPF rating. Its ultra-resistant formula is specifically designed for sensitive skin. If you’re planning on an active break, it’s also ultra-resistant to water, sweat and sand so will have you covered for a multitude of adventures.

If you have children, try the pocket-sized Anthelios Lotion for kids in SPF 50+. It provides broad-spectrum protection for the face and is specifically designed for children’s delicate skin. It’s also non-greasy and easy to apply.

Don’t forget your lips

The lips can also get a little bit dry and cracked particularly if you’re skiing in cold temperatures, so be sure to carry a lip balm with you and a sun block. La Roche-Posay’s Cicaplast Lip Balm creates a physical and biological barrier over the lips to help soothe and nourish the delicate skin while preventing chapping.

So, wherever you’re heading to this winter or even if you’re planning a few days in the UK, make sure you pack your favourite sun protection and keep your skin happy, healthy and looking great.

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