When the temperatures dip and you trade in your flip-flops for boots, don’t pack away the sunscreen. Winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding and ice skating mean hours spent outdoors. While you rarely forget to grab your hat, gloves and scarf, how often do you remember to apply sunscreen?
Keeping active in winter is a great way to stay healthy. Downhill skiing can burn more than 300 calories an hour! However, activities enjoyed at higher altitudes can increase your risk for skin damage caused by harmful UV rays. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “UV radiation exposure increases 4 to 5 percent with every 1,000 feet above sea level.” Once you’ve reached altitudes of about 10,000 the UV radiation can be as much as 45 percent more than UV rays experienced at sea level.
When you’re swooshing down the slopes, you’re exposed to the sun’s rays as they reflect off the snow. Sunscreen is a must to protect your skin from these damaging rays. The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests several tips for winter sun protection:
- Always wear sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher when enjoying outdoor activities, even on cloudy days.
- Apply at least a teaspoon of sunscreen to your face and enough sunscreen to cover any other exposed areas of skin.
- Opt for sunscreen with a skin softener as winter winds on ski slopes can be harsh and drying to your skin.
- Always wear a lip balm with at least a SPF 15 as well to protect your lips from chapping and damage.
- Be sure to reapply your sunscreen every two hours.
- Goggles and wrap-around sunglasses not only protect your eyes from the sting of snow as you make your way down the slopes, but they protect the sensitive skin around your eyes from sunburn.
Limit Your Risk
Did you know that more than 90 percent of skin cancers are related sun exposure? Too much sun exposure can contribute to premature aging of the skin as well as unsightly skin discolorations. Wearing sunscreen in winter (and year round) can help reduce your risk for skin cancers and other skin damage.