Whether you’re escaping the chill with a tropical vacation or skiing the slopes, sun safety is still important in the winter months. Because UV rays can be harmful even in frosty temperatures, protecting your skin is a year-round responsibility.
Allison Goddard, MD, of Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center for Skin (Cutaneous) Oncology, shares some wintertime sun safety tips to protect your skin and lower your risk for developing skin cancer:
1. Look for sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply to all exposed areas of skin, including neck, ears, and hands, and reapply every hour and a half that you are outdoors.
2. When skiing, remember you are much closer to the sun, and UV radiation will be even more intense. Use UV protective sunglasses and ski goggles, and don’t forget the sunscreen.
3. Apply lip balm with SPF 30 or higher, and use makeup with SPF for added protection. The lower lip, in particular, is very vulnerable to the sun’s rays.
4. Don’t use indoor tanning booths to work on a “base tan” before a sunny winter getaway. This exposure does not protect your skin from harmful UV rays, and, more importantly, it actually increases your risk for skin cancer as well as premature skin aging. Studies have found a nearly 60 percent increase in the risk of melanoma with exposure to UV radiation from indoor tanning. The risk of melanoma, as well as non-melanoma skin cancer, increases with each use.
5. Use a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses when traveling to warmer climates. There are many fun and fashionable clothing cover-up options available with built in UPF sun protection. They can be worn in and out of the water and provide excellent protection.