Skin Cancer Prevention: Sunscreen Fall & Winter
The leaves are falling and temperatures are dropping. This is a great time of year to get out and enjoy!
Most people associate sun protection with a summer’s day at the beach, but it is equally important in Fall and Winter! The sun’s harmful UV rays are just as strong and damaging on cool and even cloudy days. Almost all (95 percent) of the UV radiation we are exposed to is UVA. UVA rays can penetrate cloud cover and windows, and these rays reach deeper into the skin to contribute to wrinkles and skin cancer.
For winter sports enthusiasts, remember that as much as 80 percent of UV radiation is reflected from snow. This exposure is then compounded by the increased intensity of the sun’s rays at higher elevations. That means almost twice the sun exposure you might encounter on the beach! Add wind, snow, and sweat wearing away your sunscreen and you can see that it is more important than ever to protect your skin.
We at Dermatology Physicians of Connecticut love to enjoy the outdoors with our families as often as possible. When we do, we always keep the following in mind:
- Employ a daily sunscreen routine. Choose a “Broad Spectrum” sunscreen with an SPF factor of 30 or higher. Apply 30 minutes before getting out there and reapply at least every 2 hours if you are outdoors.
- Don’t miss often forgotten spots such as lips, ears, and neck.
- Carry a travel sized sunscreen and lip balm to make reapplication easy.
- Cover up with UV protective glasses or goggles. Snow sport helmets offer obvious safety benefits and physical sun protection too!
- Be mindful of your time in the sun. If possible, try to avoid the peak sun hours of the day between 10am and 2pm. If you are out on the trails all day, take breaks to hydrate and reapply your sunscreen.
Learn more about skin cancer prevention, screening & treatment.