The Silent Killer: Avoid Sun Damage to Your Skin this Winter


winter sun

When the temperatures drop, it’s easy to let down your guard and forget about sun safety. It may not be warm in the winter, but sun damage is still in the cards.

Despite the cold weather and overcast, melanoma risk is still high in the winter, especially among those who spend a lot of time outside. Cancer doesn’t hibernate just because it’s cold outside. The sun still emits UV rays, which are the main cause of melanoma. Even on cloudy days, you should be equipped with a defense against UV rays. Learn why you should protect yourself from sun damage this winter season.

While everyone under the sky is at risk, winter sports enthusiasts are particularly so. High altitudes, paired with UV rays being reflected by the snow, put skiers and snowboarders at an increased risk of sun damage, and even cancer. UV radiation exposure jumps nearly 5 percent with each rise of 1,000 feet above sea level. This means that at 9,000-10,000 feet, UV radiation is up to 45 percent more intense than it is at sea level. Additionally, snow reflects nearly 80 percent of the UV light emitted by the sun, ultimately compacting sun exposure. Even when it is cloudy, the sun is harmful, because up to 80 percent of the sun’s dangerous UV rays can penetrate cloud cover.

For winter sports enthusiasts at high altitudes, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all exposed skin, making sure to get all the nooks and crannies. Reapply every two hours. For others, a moisturizer with a SPF of 15 or higher should be enough to protect your radiant skin. Use a lip balm with an SPF of 15 or higher and keep it in your pocket as you go about your day or hit the slopes.

If you are trying to maintain your summer tan throughout the cold months by regularly visiting the tanning salon, reconsider this habit. Recent studies show that using tanning beds increases the risk of skin cancer by 800 percent. Regardless of what tanning salons boast about the safety of their beds, don’t fall for it. Instead, save time, money and your healthy complexion by nabbing a tinted moisturizer for your face and body, like Ilia Beauty’s Sheer Vivid Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20, which is made with organic ingredients, such as white tea, rosemary extracts and aloe, and is vegan, cruelty-free and gluten-free.

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Aylin Erman