The Best Sunscreens for Winter Because, Yes, You Still Need Some SPF

best sunscreens for winter
Photo by Dylan Collette

Ah, winter. It’s the time of year when you can binge-watch all weekend and not feel bad (or as bad ) about it. It’s the time of year when the days get shorter and layers get heavier. It’s the time of year you think you can skip your sunscreen routine — but you’re wrong. No matter the time of year, the sun’s rays still have the same harmful effects. With winter’s canned heat and brisk winds, your face is in need of some serious hydration. This means you will need to protect against UV damage while also moisturizing every day.

The best way to combine moisture and SPF is to use a hydrating face lotion with an SPF of 30, ideally a combination of both mineral and chemical sunscreens to protect as thoroughly as possible. Mineral sunscreens (most commonly zinc oxide, but also titanium dioxide) block the sun’s rays from penetrating the skin. Chemical sunscreens absorb and diffuse the rays, rendering them powerless. You should try to avoid oxybenzone, as it’s been found to be very harmful to coral reefs and other marine wildlife when washed off into the water supply.

Below is a selection the five best sunscreens for winter. These provide superior moisture and an SPF of at least 30, and they won’t make your face shiny or chalky.

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum – $32.50

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum

A great sunscreen for anytime of year, this SPF 46 sunscreen from EltaMA shines specially bright during the winter (figuratively, of course). This moisturizer has a boost of uber hydrating hyaluronic acid, which holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water. It also has lactic acid to fend off acne (instead of the alternative, salicylic acid, which can dry skin out more quickly). This lotion includes a healthy dose of niacinamide, which helps to even skin tone and shrink pores while brightening dull winter skin. Active ingredients: 9 percent zinc oxide and  7.5 percent octinoxate.

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Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream – $47.50

Kiehls Ultra Facial Cream

Most men go for the Kiehl’s Facial Fuel collection, but the winter winds warrant something with a little more gusto. This Ultra Facial Cream with SPF 30 is formulated with the marine active antarcticine, a glycoprotein known to withstand extreme cold because of its cryo-protective properties. “Fountain plant” (which is notable for its ability to help skin maintain its natural moisture reserves) rounds out this loaded lotion to keep your face extra protected in the colder months. Active ingredients: 7 percent octocrylene, 5 percent, octisalate, 5 percent homosalate, 3 percent avobenzone.

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La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer UV – $20

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer UV

Fragrance-free and suitable for even super sensitive skin, thisthe lightweight, heavy-duty, award-winning La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair moisturizer replenishes your skin. Prebiotic thermal water is not only super hydrating but also has antioxidant properties — a big bonus for the winter time. Glycerin draws even more moisture from the air to the skin’s surface, and ceramide-3, which is naturally found in the body, helps repair skin’s own natural barrier, keeping the bad stuff out and the good stuff (like moisture) in. Active ingredients: 7 percent octocrylene, 5 percent, octisalate, 5 percent homosalate, 3 percent avobenzone.

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PCA Skin Protecting Hydrator – $35

PCA Skin Protecting Hydrator

This oil-free, broad spectrum SPF 30 loction from PCA Skin contains moisturizing panthenol, the provitamin of B5, and the tried-and-true aloe vera to instantly hydrate. The caffeine stimulates and protects from additional harmful UV effects. Great for sensitive skin, this is a solid addition to add to your regimen anytime of year. Active ingredients: 7.5 percent octinoxate, 3.6 percent octisalate, 4.3 percent zinc oxide.

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All Good Unscented Sunstick – $9

All Good Unscented Sunstick

For those who have active winter plans, the All Good Sunstick with SPF 30 is perfect! This is a great option when hitting the slopes, taking midday winter runs, or even just egging on a snowball fight. The stick application means you can get it on your face without taking your gloves off — why not make the most of that time on the chairlift? All natural, organic, and cruelty-free, the list of accomplishments of the All Good brand go on and on. Active Ingredient: 20 percent non-nanoparticle zinc oxide.

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Article originally published by Katie Dickens on November 7, 2016. Last updated by Barrett Wertz on December 12, 2017.