That means winter, too.
It’s clear that this past summer, SPF became cool — just ask TikTok. However, when I started Supergoop! over 15 years ago, it was anything but.
While I’m super happy to see sunscreen getting the product buzz it deserves, as someone who has lived, breathed, and dreamt about SPF for so long, I think it’s important to caution us all against calling it a trend. By its very definition, a trend does not last. That’s why today, I want to share a PSA: don’t put away the SPF now that the weather might be a bit cooler. Wear it every day, rain or shine — and every single season.
When was the last time you were told to stock up on SPF in the winter? Probably never, unless you heard it from me. UV rays can be just as damaging in January as they are in June, and despite how suncare products have been traditionally marketed, it isn’t just about bikinis and the beach. It’s about the incremental exposure over time.
Sun damage is cumulative, so the 15 minutes you might spend walking the dog, waiting for the train, and picking up lunch all adds up — even when it's freezing outside.
I came to this realization over two decades ago after a friend in their late 20s was diagnosed with skin cancer. It really sparked something in me, and ever since, I’ve devoted my life to changing the way people think about sunscreen in the hopes that we can one day put the epidemic of skin cancer behind us.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with skin cancer over the course of their lifetime. These stats are staggering — especially when you realize that this is something that’s so preventable.
So what’s the disconnect? These days, it seems to be common knowledge that sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. In fact, research shows that 90% of all skin cancers, including melanoma, are directly related to UV radiation from the sun. Knowing this, you might wonder what’s preventing people from wearing sunscreen year-round?
The honest truth is that our brains have been programmed otherwise. For decades, we’ve bought into marketing campaigns that position SPF as a warm-weather essential. Now there is thankfully a lot more conversation about sunscreen, but what concerns me most is that the dialogue is still anchored in the summer, and how fragile and fleeting the concept of “cool” is. Our society names and cycles through trends quickly, so I want to be sure that we don’t let that happen to SPF.
Rethinking your habits with new daily rituals takes work, but I can attest that preserving your skin and overall health can be just as easy as applying your favorite products. It wasn’t too long ago that we had to convince people to wear seatbelts in cars and helmets on bikes, so it’s my hope that applying SPF year-round will soon become the same.
We’ve come so far in the education and availability of better sunscreen options, so I urge you to continue to wear it daily — and keep protecting your skin, every single season.
Holly Thaggard is the founder of Supergoop!
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