Why You Should Wear SPF In Winter: Our Top 8 Sunscreens For The Season

What’s the difference between UVA and UVB

If you’re not as totally obsessed with skincare as we are at team Face The Future, then you might not be completely clued up on SPF – specifically, when you should be wearing it. If you’re of the thinking that SPF is for summer or those bright sunny days only, then don’t worry, you’re not on your own. But the truth is, we should all be protecting our skin with a good quality sunscreen every single day – whatever the weather.

Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays are present all year around and stay at the same strength from dusk until dawn – even on cloudy days. Not only do they penetrate cloud cover, but UVA rays also penetrate glass and widows, so if you’re sat working by a window, or even driving, your skin is still vulnerable to being damaged. Also, if you’re in bright, cold climates, like skiing in the Alps, for example, the UV rays reflect off surfaces like snow and water – so you should always wear your SPF to remain protected.

What’s the difference between UVA and UVB?

Ultraviolet B (UVB) is a high energy ray which penetrates and burns the epidermis of your skin.

UVA is a lower energy ray that penetrates deeper into the dermis of your skin, causing damage to your structural collagen and leading to premature skin ageing.

UVA and UVB rays both cause damage to your cells, and to your DNA, which leads to accelerated skin ageing and the appearance of lines and wrinkles, along with hyperpigmentation and thickened skin texture. UVA and UVB rays can also lead to the development of skin cancer, which is why it’s so important to protect your skin against them.

What does broad spectrum mean?

Broad spectrum means that your sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

What sun protection factor do I need?

You should always wear a minimum of SPF30 in a broad-spectrum formula – as this blocks out approximately 97% of UV rays. Sometimes people can get a little confused and think that SPF30 means that they have 30% protection, however, that’s not the case – it simply stands for the level of defence against UVB rays.

  • SPF15 blocks around 93% of UVB rays
  • SPF30 blocks around 97% of UVB rays
  • SPF50 blocks around 98% of UVB rays
  • SPF100 blocks around 99% of UVB rays

It’s important to note that although sunscreens can block up to 99% of UV rays, they only block out around 55% of the free radicals that are produced from UV exposure.

What are free radicals?

Free radicals are created by environmental factors which include cigarette smoke, air pollution and UV radiation from the sun. Free radicals are created when an atom in your body becomes unstable because of the environmental aggressor. Because of its instability, the atom tries to cling to another healthy atom to stabilise itself once again. This process causes damage to your cell DNA.

How can I prevent free-radical damage with antioxidants?

It’s good practice to work an antioxidant product into your skincare routine that will sit underneath your sunscreen and help to halt any excess damage. One of our personal favourites amongst the FTF team is the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum that’s formulated with vitamin C,vitamin E, and with ferulic acid. It protects your skin against free radical damage and oxidative stress, and sits under skincare and makeup perfectly.  

How often should I be applying my sunscreen?

Typically, you should top up your sunscreen every two hours throughout the day. However, if you’re swimming/bathing, or sweating, then you’ll need to re-apply your sunscreen more often to ensure you’re properly protected.

So, now you’re savvy on SPF, it’s time for us to share some of our best-selling winter sunscreens with you, as rated by our wonderful customers.

1. Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield SPF 50

Lightweight, invisible and with a universal tint, this SPF is suitable for all skin tones. With its hydrating and antioxidant-rich formula, your skin will be protected from UV rays, pollution, blue light, and infrared radiation (IR).

“Goes on to the skin smoothly, eases into the not quite so easy to reach places and leaves my face with a healthy looking glow from the slight tint in the lotion.  Bought my first bottle and almost Immediately bought 2 more - I don’t want you be without it.” – Kate, FTF customer

Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield SPF 50


2. Heliocare 360 Gel Oil-Free SPF 50

With a unique oil-free, dry touch texture, this formula contains powerful antioxidant activity, advanced filters, and a Bioshield System that provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA, UVB, visible light, and Infrared radiation – A.

Enriched with Fernblock® FC, this SPF is supported by actives that repair sun damage. It also includes anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and sebum controlling technology, making it an ideal choice for sensitive and acne prone skin.

“I mean the claims of skin care benefits and protection from this brand are unreal and I am here for it! The texture of this product is lovely and it smells divine. It leaves the skin with a lovely glow but it’s not greasy or dewy.  Which I need because I layer a few products underneath and I don't want too much slip or my makeup won’t last. Must be because it’s a gel formula. Whatever the case, it’s amazing and I’ve already repurchased another bottle so I have one ready. My skin just looks so much healthier since using this spf. Love it!”  -Taloni, FTF customer


 Heliocare 360 Gel Oil-Free SPF 50

3. SkinCeuticals Advanced Brightening UV Defense SPF 50

This dual-action, ultra-lightweight SPF has broad-spectrum UV protection along with a potent blend of discolouration targeting ingredients to give you a brighter, more even complexion.

“I use this product all year round. I have been told by a dermatologist that I have no sun damage.” – Frances, FTF customer

SkinCeuticals Advanced Brightening UV Defense SPF 50

4. Medik8 Advanced Day Ultimate Protect SPF 50

This daily moisturiser contains broad spectrum SPF50+ to protect your skin against free radical damage.

Giving the highest level of UV protection, the formula uses light-activated repair technology to support skin recovery.

With a super-light, but very hydrating, invisible finish, your skin will feel quenched whilst any fine lines and wrinkles are visibly reduced.  

“Honestly the best sun protection. Feels good on, and works very well with makeup. Doesn't leak into eyes, and has hardly any scent.” – Ameli, FTF customer

Medik8 Advanced Day Ultimate Protect SPF 50

5. NeoStrata Sheer Physical Protection SPF50

This ultra-sheer, lightweight formula offers broad spectrum protection whilst delivering a complex blend of antioxidant ingredients to your skin to maintain your natural collagen levels and preserve healthy DNA for more youthful looking skin.

The oil free formula leaves a matte finish to the skin, and is suitable for all skin types.

“Spreads easily and gives a lovely velvety finish with a light coverage. My skin is light colour, reactive and combination and this product suits my needs well.” Kristina, FTF customer

 NeoStrata Sheer Physical Protection SPF50

6. La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVmune 400 Invisible Fluid SPF 50+

A brand fan favourite, La Roche-Posay's Anthelios UVmune 400 Invisible Fluid SPF 50+ is lightweight, invisible and created without perfume.

Specially formulated for sensitive skin, the sunscreen contains the new and exclusive UV filter, MEXORYL 40, that helps to protect your skin against UV induced damage.

With a water, sweat and sand resistant formula, the non-greasy texture offers broad spectrum protection whilst blurring out imperfections and leaving your skin with a radiant glow.

Love this stuff. Non greasy and no white residue is left. Goes lovely under make up too. 5*”  Yvonne, FTF customer

La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVmune 400 Invisible Fluid SPF 50+

7. Saltee SPF50 Face Sea & Sun Formula

Containing ultra-high, naturally derived UVA and UVB protection, Saltee's formula gives your skin high protection whilst helping to fight and prevent hyper-pigmentation. The light texture sinks into your skin in seconds, leaving your skin feeling hydrated but comfortable. 



Saltee SPF50 Face Sea & Sun Formula

8. Ultrasun Lip Protection SPF 30

One area we often forget to protect when it comes to SPF is our lips.. Ultrasun's nourishing, broad protection formula keeps your lips hydrated and protected, preventing chapping and cracking. 

Ideal for use on its own or under makeup, the handy twist-up design is perfect for on-the-go protection. 

"Great product and really easy ordering and fast delivery from Face The Future. Thank you." - David, FTF customer
Ultrasun Lip Protection SPF 30

Now you've got your autumn/winter SPF sorted, how about learning how to create the perfect seasonal eye makeup look with iconic British brand, Eyeko? Discover more here about the five Eyeko products you need to try.