We usually think of applying sunscreen only on warm sunny days, but the truth is we need its protection all year round. Winter sunscreen is just as important as summer sunscreen since ultraviolet rays can be just as damaging on the slopes as on the beach.
Outdoor winter activities puts skiers and snowboarders at increased risk for sun damage. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure increases about 8-10% with every 1,000 feet of elevation above sea level, and the exposure to wind can wear away sunscreen quickly. It’s also worth noting that snow reflects up to 80% of the UV light from the sun, even on cloudy days.
This combination can easily cause skin damage, sun burns, and increased risk for skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more that 90% of all skin cancers are associated with sun exposure. It’s more important that ever to protect your skin and lather up with sunscreen.
Here are some ways to reduce your exposure and risk while enjoying winter sports:
- Use an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30
- Apply at least a teaspoon to the face
- Apply sunscreen to the ears, neck, scalp and chin
- Reapply sunscreen after 2 hours
- Protect the lips with an SPF lip balm of 15 or higher
- Wear head cover, UV blocking goggles, and ski masks
Contact your healthcare provider if you have any specific questions about the best ways to protect your skin from sun damage.