Is the Sun Really Brighter in Winter?

by Allison Oliverius on Jan 31, 2022


It’s not you. The sun IS brighter in winter. Anyone who’s ever driven into a winter sunset or gone skiing on a sunny day knows how brutal it can be. But did you know you can also get sunburned in the winter? UVB rays are always harmful, but they’re downright sneaky in the winter.  

Don’t worry. In a face-off between the brutal winter sun vs our UPF 50+ sun protection gear, our gear is the clear winner. We make activewear so you can seize the rays in all seasons. Our gear provides all-day UPF 50+ sun protection. And when we say all day, we mean all day. 

Why Is the Sun Brightest in the Winter? 

The Tilt Does the sun go higher in winter? No. Not for us. The Northern Hemisphere is tilting away from the sun in winter, so the sun is lower in the sky than in summer. Think of it as shining at us rather than on us. 

Fun Fact: Because of this tilt, shadows are longer in winter than in summer. 

The Air – Winter air is more transparent. If we’re getting technical, that means cold air has a lower water content and fewer particulates and aerosols. 

The Snow – All that beautiful snow reflects up to 90% of UV rays. 


Can You Get Sunburn in Winter? 

Oh yeah. It’s easy to get sunburned in the winter because of the angle of the sun, the transparent air, the light reflecting off the snow, and if you’re at a high altitude, you’re just adding fuel to the fire.  

The Sunshine Vitamin & Skin Cancer 

Still, we need time in the sun. Your body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunshine. It’s harder to keep your vitamin D levels where they should be in winter because we’re outside less. And because there are fewer daylight hours.  

We know getting outside has health benefits in every season. The sun – aka the sunshine vitamin – not only helps our bodies make vitamin D, but it also improves brain function, mood, sleep, and lowers blood pressure.  

But you always have to be careful to protect your skin from over-exposure, which leads to sunburn and risk of skin cancer. That’s where Vapor Elemental Wear sun protection comes into play. Our base, mid, and outer layers of UPF 50+ clothing help protect your skin from over exposure to all of the elements while still enjoying being outside in the fresh air. 


The Best Gear for Winter Adventures 

Layers of our UPF 50+ performance clothing will provide you with the all-day sun protection you need for winter adventures. Plus, they’ll help you keep your body temp regulated.  

We engineered our fabrics with built-in sun protection that only gets better with each wash. Start with our base layer tops and bottoms and add layers as temperatures drop. Shed them as your activity level or the temperatures rise.  

Fun Fact: Our gear ranges from 50% - 100% recycled fiber content. Our lightweight sun protection layers and our cozy fleece look good, feel good, and are eco-friendly.  


How to Make the Most of Winter 

The first day of winter, or the winter solstice, is always the shortest day of the year. It has the fewest hours of daylight at about 8 hours and 46 minutes. Unless you’re in Alaska, where there are only about 3 hours and 42 minutes of sunlight on the winter solstice. 

It’s a day many love to hate. We love it because winter is officially here and all of the winter sports that come with it. We hate it because there just aren’t enough daylight hours in winter. It’s hard to come home from work and feel like you immediately need to go to bed because it’s dark out.  

That’s why you have to make the most of each daylight hour in winter. Make time to get outside during lunch. And on weekends, make plans to gear up and get outside.  

Our favorite winter activities? 

Now, close your laptop, put down your phone and make the most of winter. Because we belong out there!