5 Scary Stats That Will Make You Wear SPF in the Winter

For most of us, our beauty routines change and shift with the seasons—while winter calls for body butters and moisturizing masks, summer is a time for lightweight lotions and humidity-taming hair products. One thing that has a perpetual spot in our routines, however, is sun protection. “The best skincare product you can use on a daily basis—if you had to choose one—is sunscreen,” says COOLA founder and sun protection advocate Chris Birchby. It’s a simple truth that’s easy to forget once the temps drop and a sunny day is just as elusive as the melodic jingle of the ice cream man. Even if you’re covered from the neck down, there are many reasons to stick to a daily regimen of sun protection. Here’s why:

UV radiation exposure increases 4-5 percent with every 1,000 feet above sea level

Skiers and snowboarders take note: according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the higher your elevation, the greater your exposure to harmful UV rays. Plus, snow reflects and intensifies sunlight. For a day at the slopes, Birchby recommends a sport sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, like COOLA’s SPF 45 Sport formula.

Up to 80 percent of the sun's rays can penetrate clouds

Just because it’s a cold, cloudy day doesn’t mean you won’t be exposed to the strong UVA rays that cause aging and, potentially, skin cancer. For day-to-day coverage, a lightweight lotion with SPF (we swear by 30 and higher) should do the trick, like the wildly popular (just read the comments) COOLA Classic SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer for Face.

Melanomas of the scalp and neck make up 6% of all melanomas, but cause 10% of all melanoma deaths

Anyone who’s suffered a scalp burn (and the embarrassing peeling that follows) knows how painful and uncomfortable it can be. The Skin Cancer Foundation points out that melanoma found on the scalp and neck are to blame for one tenth of all melanoma deaths, so if you’re planning on spending the day outdoors, make sure to either cover up with a dark-colored hat, or protect your exposed scalp with a spritz of lotion with an SPF of 30 or higher.

There were approximately 2 million new cases of skin cancer in 2012

The truth is, skin cancer can affect *anyone,* regardless of skin color. As Birchby has learned in developing COOLA products, people with darker skin have a high chance of missing the signs of skin cancer. “They’re not as much at risk [as light-skinned people], but [cancer can be] more difficult to detect because they don’t notice the changes in their moles right away,” he says. Making sunscreen a part of your daily routine is the easiest thing you can do to protect yourself.

Wearing sunscreen can slow the aging process by 24%

This last one isn’t scary; it’s just cool. A 2013 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that test subjects who used sunscreen daily decreased the speed of the skin’s aging process by 24% compared to the group that did not. So if the health benefits aren’t enough to motivate you to wear SPF, let its antiaging properties persuade you!

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