Protect Your Skin in Colder Months

Just because it’s cold or cloudy, don’t get lulled into the false security of thinking you can ignore protecting your skin against the sun.

Even on cloudy days, when you may assume you’re at less risk, harmful ultraviolet rays filter through the clouds. If you’re outside, it’s impossible to totally avoid the sun’s ultraviolet rays on exposed areas of skin.

Hit the slopes – smartly
The northern hemisphere points away from the sun in the winter, and most of the weaker ultraviolet rays are blocked by the atmosphere.
In higher elevations, however, there is greater risk for sunburn because there is less atmosphere to block the sun’s rays. Add to that the fact that snow reflects up to 80 percent of the sun’s rays, and you have a potentially dangerous situation. Even though it may feel cold, you can burn quickly.

Remember to:

  •   Cover up with a long-sleeved jacket, hat and gloves.
  •   Wear wraparound sunglasses or goggles
  •   Be sure sunglasses or goggles offer 100 percent UV protection.
  •   Pay close attention to the underside of chin and ears.
  •   Wear sun block such as zinc oxide on exposed and sun-sensitive areas.

Stay safe on the seashore

If your winter includes a respite in a sunny climate:

  •   Remember to pack sunscreen.
  •   Use waterproof sunscreen if you scuba dive or swim.
  •   Reapply often if you scuba dive or swim.
  •   Forgo visiting the tanning salon before hitting the beach.
        o A tan from a tanning booth won’t protect you from sun exposure.
        o Tanning booths produce UV rays.

Sidebar: Be Sun Smart All Year

  •   Wear a full-spectrum sunscreen that:
      o blocks both UVA and UVB rays
      o has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15
  •   Avoid peak sun hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  •   Use sunscreen every day if you will be in the sun more than 20 minutes.
  •   Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors.
  •   Pay extra attention to face, ears, hands and arms when applying sunscreen.
  •   Keep infants in the shade and covered with clothing.

Source: University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Provided by ArmMed Media