While you may not feel the intense rays of the sun beating down on your skin in winter, the sun still has the potential to cause skin damage and even cancer during the winter months. Therefore, it is essential to keep your skin protected throughout the year. Here are some tips on sun protection in cooler weather.
Wear an SPF 30 Sunscreen
While UVB rays emitted by the sun are lower in winter, the more harmful UVA rays are still emitted at full strength. UVA rays play a key role in accelerating skin damage and cancer. Therefore, it is essential to wear a full spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen on any areas of the skin that will be exposed to the sun, including the lips, neck, and chest.
Keep in mind that sunscreens have an expiration date. Also, while some sunscreens offer all-day sun protection, others lose their potency shortly after being exposed to the sun. Look for a sunscreen that is FDA-approved, as not all formulas offer the level of protection advertised on the bottle. The FDA recommends an SPF of 30, as more than that typically isn’t necessary and less does not keep the skin protected.
Sunscreen should be used whenever you will be outside for more than 15 minutes and should be applied 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. Wear sun protection even in overcast conditions, as most UV radiation can penetrate through cloudy skies.
Sun Protection for Winter Sports
Harmful sun rays can reflect off the snow and penetrate through glass, and UV radiation increases 4% for every 1,000 feet in altitude you climb. So, if you participate in winter sports, such as skiing or snowboarding, it is particularly important to maintain a winter skin care routine. In addition to sunscreen, athletes should wear a brimmed winter sun hat and quality sunglasses or goggles with UV coatings to protect the eyes.
Just like in summer months, pay attention to early signs of sun damage during the winter and have our dermatologists check any questionable spots. Sun damage is cumulative, so taking these small steps to protect your skin from day to day will keep you looking radiant longer.