Keeping your skin safe from the winter sun

Keeping your skin safe from the winter sun

No matter the weather, it's always important to take care of your skin. While it's true that the sun's UV rays—those responsible for skin cancers—can be less intense during the short, cold and often cloudy winter days, they can still be very harmful to your skin.

As part of your regular outdoor fitness and recreation routine, be sure to follow these tips to keep your skin as healthy as the rest of your body this winter.

Follow your summer sunscreen routine. Before you don that winter gear, apply a liberal base coat of water-resistant, broad spectrum sunscreen to all body parts that will be exposed. Remember, cloudy days don't hide the sun's harmful rays, so don't skip the sunscreen just because you can't see the sun. Reach for a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF, and don't ignore your face, ears and nose even if you're planning to wear a hat, sunglasses or ski mask. If you plan to be outside for an extended period of time, reapply your sunscreen every two hours or after working up a good sweat.

Dress appropriately. We all know how important it is to dress in warm layers to protect against the cold, but with today's advances in technology, many fabrics—especially those used in outdoor fitness and recreation wear—also contain some level of SPF protection. While the SPF levels in fabric won't provide total protection from the sun's damaging rays, they can help if worn in conjunction with sunscreen and other cold-weather gear.

More is better. In addition to your sunscreen, use an SPF 30 lip balm. If you can cover up an exposed area, do it—wear long-sleeved shirts and jackets, hats, gloves, wraparound sunglasses and goggles to further protect your skin.

Know before you go. If you are going to be on the slopes or otherwise near the snow on a cold, sunny day, remember that bright, reflective surfaces (like ski areas, ice skating rinks and wet roads) intensify and magnify the power of the sun's rays. The sun's rays are also stronger at high altitudes, where most ski resorts are located. In both cases, you'll be at greater risk for sunburn and skin damage. Remember: the sun's UV rays are at their strongest between 10am and 2pm, regardless of actual outdoor air temperature or wind conditions.

Posted: 2/27/2015 by Goshen Health
Filed under: Cancer, Care, Skincare, Sun, Winter

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