Don’t forget the sunscreen this winter
When you think of slathering on sunscreen, what comes to mind?
Skiing and snowboarding probably isn’t your first thought. But wearing sunscreen during the winter months is just as important as using it in the heat of summer.
Winter activities that take place at higher altitudes bring an increased risk of sun-related skin damage, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Ultraviolet radiation exposure increases 4% to 5% with every 1,000 feet above sea level. “At an altitude of 9,000 to 10,000 feet,” the foundation says, “UV radiation may be 35% to 45% more intense than at sea level.”
Snow plays a role, too: At higher altitudes, it reflects up to 80% of the UV light the sun gives off, meaning you may be hit by the same sunrays twice.
To help stay safe from the sun’s harmful rays this winter, follow these tips from the SCF:
- Apply a liberal amount of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 or more whenever you plan on spending time outdoors – even on cloudy days. Reapply every two hours.
- Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to often-neglected spots, including the lips, ears, neck, hands and around the eyes.
- When skiing or snowboarding, be sure to wear the right equipment, including hats or caps, ski masks, and sunglasses or goggles.
- Remember that the sun is at its most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.