Kanebo Cosmetics Global Corporate Site

Sun care and seasons

Sun care with a view toward seasons and the skin

People have always thought that the skin’s condition changes immediately in response to the change of seasons. But upon analyzing actual skin data in detail, Kanebo researchers learned that skin changes take a full 1-3 months to occur after the seasons change.

This time lag between the skin and the seasons is something we need to be aware of, especially in terms of sun protection and after-sun care. For example, at the beginning of spring, when UV radiation increases more rapidly than at any other time of the year, the skin has the lowest amount of melanin and is therefore defenseless against UV radiation. If we wait until summer is in full swing to start UV protection, chances are high that the skin has already been damaged. Here are a few basics about optimal timing for UV protection and year-round treatment to protect the skin from UV damage.

Relationship between UV radiation amount* and skin’s lightness

Sun care and seasons

A closer look at the amount of UV radiation and changes in skin tone clearly reveals the time lag between the skin and the seasons. While the amount of UV radiation decreases once summer is over, the effects of the abundant UV radiation of spring and summer appear on the skin gradually, which means skin is at its darkest in August-September, three months after the most intense exposure. Meanwhile, UV radiation surges in the spring, but since the effects of winter, when radiation is the fewest, are manifesting on the skin at this time, the skin is at its lightest from February to April, and it is essentially defenseless from UV radiation at this time.

*Average amount of UV radiation per hour (Tokyo, Japan)

Optimal UV care cycle

Taking into account the time lag between the skin and the seasons, we can divide the year into 6 periods and point to the times when UV care needs to be boosted.

1. Early Spring
Northern hemisphere: Feb.-March,
Southern hemisphere: Aug.-Sept.

Defenseless skin needs early sun protection!

Coming on the heels of mid-winter, when UV radiation is the least abundant, this is the time of year when UV radiation increases more rapidly than at any other time of the year. And yet, the skin is just now experiencing the delayed effects of the dip in UV radiation three months earlier, around December. As a result, this is the period when melanin pigment is low and skin color is the lightest.

In other words, at the time when UV radiation surges, the skin is actually low on melanin and in its most defenseless condition. What’s more, this is also a season with increased occasions like spring break and spring ski trips, where people unwittingly soak up UV radiation. Therefore, early sun care focusing on protection is very important.

SPF20 or lower and PA+ for daily use

While UV protection is important, this does not mean that the UV radiation itself is stronger now than in the summertime (although UV radiation reflected by the snow and the ocean’s surface requires stronger protection). What it does mean is that skin is more susceptible to irritation from UV radiation than at any other time of the year. Consequently, while it is not necessary to use products with a high SPF (UVB blocking effect) or PA (UVA blocking effect), meticulous sun care is a must. You can choose foundation primer, sunscreen, and foundation that have a comfortable SPF of 20 or below and around PA+.

Sun care and seasons

2. Early summer
Northern hemisphere: April-May,
Southern hemisphere: Oct.-Nov.

Skin is still defenseless!

After early spring is over, it’s time for the most abundant UV radiation of the year. Meanwhile, the skin is still low on melanin and continues to be defenseless. Opportunities for enjoying outdoor leisure increase even more, and proper UV protection is a must.

Sun care and seasons

Be aware of daily UV exposure as well

UV protection is important not only when you are outside for long periods of time or for outdoor leisure, etc., but also during everyday activities when you don’t really notice the UV radiation. Even the UV radiation you’re exposed to during a daily commute or a quick shopping trip has effects that add up before you know it. To block everyday UV exposure, it is not necessary to use sunscreen or a foundation with a high SPF and PA. As a rough guide, SPF15 PA++ is fine, depending on your skin type. But since sunscreen wears off due to perspiration and sebum, it is important to reapply it every 2-3 hours.

3. Summer
Northern hemisphere: June-July,
Southern hemisphere: Dec.-Jan.

Even tanned skin needs UV protection!

June-July (Southern hemisphere: Dec.-Jan.) is the time of year when UV radiation is the strongest and the daytime is longest, which adds up to a significant amount of UV exposure every day. Due to the continuous UV exposure since the spring, melanin levels increase, and the skin’s color begins to darken. But your natural melanin defense mechanism alone won’t protect you from UV damage! Sunscreen is vital to protect your skin from photo aging and from a buildup of skin damage that leads not only to dark spots, freckles, and wrinkles, but may even cause skin cancer.

Sun care and seasons

Be careful even in the shade!

The amount of UV exposure differs depending on the season and time of day, the weather and location, the surrounding surfaces, and other aspects of the environment. Use caution especially when going out mid-day, between 10:00-14:00. Keep in mind that we’re still exposed to 50% of the sun’s radiation even in the shade of a tree, plus the rate of reflection for UV radiation differs depending on the surrounding surfaces. Good skin protection during these hours includes not only sunscreen and foundation, but also a hat, proper clothing, and sunglasses.

After-sun treatment

If you do end up getting sunburned, symptoms such as inflammation, skin roughness, and dryness will appear according to how much time has passed since the sun exposure. For the first 24 hours immediately after the exposure, give priority to relieving inflammation, and within a week after the burn, thoroughly moisturize with lotion masks or other intensive moisturizing care to ease dryness and skin peeling.

See here for effective sun protection. 

4. Autumn
Northern hemisphere: Aug.-Sept.,
Southern hemisphere: Feb.-Mar.

Promote melanin expulsion to prevent dark spots

As we move from a season with lots of UV rays to a season with less, the damage incurred by UV exposure during spring and summer becomes most apparent, and the skin becomes the darkest it will be all year. To keep the melanin produced in the skin from collecting and forming dark spots, our focus should shift to anti-spot care to promote the discharge of melanin already produced within the skin and the shedding of dead corneous cells.

Sun care and seasons

Corneous care

UV protection is important not only when you are outside for long periods of time or for outdoor leisure, etc., but also during everyday activities when you don’t really notice the UV radiation. Even the UV radiation you’re exposed to during a daily commute or a quick shopping trip has effects that add up before you know it. To block everyday UV exposure, it is not necessary to use sunscreen or a foundation with a high SPF and PA. As a rough guide, SPF15 PA++ is fine, depending on your skin type. But since sunscreen wears off due to perspiration and sebum, it is important to reapply it every 2-3 hours.

  • Peeling
    There are many different peeling products on the market  designed to promote the removal of dead corneous cells. These products use a variety of methods (physical, scientific, biological), and they vary widely in how much they irritate the skin. As a result, it’s best to first have your skin analyzed at a cosmetic counter, and then find out what products suit your own skin and how often you should use them.
  • Massage
    Massage is also an effective way to remove dead corneous matter. There’s no need to go to a salon or spa; we encourage you to try Kanebo’s self-facial massage, which can be performed conveniently at home.

Don't overdo it!

If you do too much peeling or massaging, the corneous layer may be damaged, leaving skin prone to dryness. The optimal frequency varies for different people, so if your skin feels dry, let it rest a bit. sunglasses.

5. Early winter
Northern hemisphere: Oct.-Nov.,
Southern hemisphere: April-May

Corneous layer thickening accelerates dryness

Due to falling temperatures and indoor heating, the skin begins to dry out, starting with the surface. During this time, if the corneous layer is still thick due to UV damage incurred in the spring and summer, the skin will lack sufficient moisture from the inside as well, which in turn will speed up dryness. Therefore, even after late summer is over, it is still important to care for the skin by addressing the thickened corneous layer through gentle peeling, massage etc.

Sun care and seasons

Corneous & moisturizing care

In autumn, even as you continue to remove dead corneous cells, it is important to be diligent about moisture care. We recommend double moisturizing, as it effectively hydrates the skin’s surface.

See here regarding the importance of double moisturizing.

6. Winter
Northern hemisphere: Dec.-Jan.,
Southern hemisphere: June-July

Poor blood circulation provokes dryness

This time of year features the smallest amount of UV radiation. Temperatures drop to the lowest of the whole year, and the air inside is the driest due to indoor heating. Skin’s color gets even lighter, and blood circulation slows down, which causes the skin to dry out. It is necessary to provide the skin with ample moisture.

Sun care and seasons

Thorough moisturizing care

During this time of year, blood circulation in the skin declines among young and old, and skin’s activity tends to become sluggish. Meticulous massaging is key in order to prevent dryness and skin roughness, which can result from the poor blood circulation that cold weather brings on. To increase the effectiveness of skin massage, you can also indulge in baths and saunas to warm the entire body, as well as engaging in exercise, since these activities promote the skin’s blood circulation.

See here for the benefits of the Kanebo self-massage and how to do it.
See here for steps to address sensitivity to cold and low body temperature.

Top of Page