Tips to protect your skin in winter

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Yawkey Center for Cancer Care healing garden.Sunscreen shouldn’t be packed away just because it’s winter. Your skin can be exposed to harmful rays all year long. So before you hit the slopes, build a snowman, or head off to a tropical beach, take time to protect yourself, say skin cancer specialists at Dana-Farber.

According to the American Cancer Society, snow, ice, and water can all reflect the ultraviolet radiation that causes sunburn, which in turn increases the risk of developing skin cancer. Some experts say winter sports enthusiasts face just as much risk of getting sunburn as summer sunbathers.

The same goes if a little ‘R and R’ means heading south. It’s important to lather on plenty of sunscreen before hitting the beach, even if it’s only for a few days. After months of being bundled up in winter clothes, bathing suit tan lines can quickly become burn lines – which can increase the risk of sun cancer.

Here are more tips for protecting your skin this winter:

  • Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Apply it often and don’t forget your neck, ears, and hands.
  • Apply lip balm with sunscreen and use makeup with an SPF of 15 or higher.
  • Use eye protection especially for skiing. Look for wrap-around sun glasses and ski goggles with UV protection.
  • If you’re heading somewhere tropical, wear a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
  • Avoid excessive exposure to the sun, especially during peak hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is at its strongest.
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