Sunburns Just as Likely in the Winter, So Use Sunscreen

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), March 4, 2015 | Go to article overview

Sunburns Just as Likely in the Winter, So Use Sunscreen


Byline: Submitted by Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital

Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean you can put away your sunscreen, especially if you are heading out to the slopes for skiing or snowboarding. Even though there are plenty of layers to keep you covered, it is still important to protect any exposed skin (your face, neck, and hands) by using sunscreen.

"Snow and ice reflect the sun's UV rays back up onto your skin, which not only cause skin cancer but are also the source of about 90 percent of all wrinkles," says Dr. Sivakami Thayu, an internal medicine physician at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital.

Dr. Thayu says that the combination of higher altitude and ultraviolet rays reflected by the snow put skiers and snowboarders at an increased risk of sun damage and ultimately skin cancer. "We know that more than 90 percent of all skin cancers are associated with sun exposure, so winter is definitely a time to be taking care of your skin and not just in the summer," she says.

UV radiation exposure increases four to five percent with every 1,000 feet above sea level. At an altitude of 9,000 to 10,000 feet, UV radiation may be 35 to 45 percent more intense than at sea level. In addition, snow reflects up to 80 percent of the UV light from the sun, meaning that you are often hit by the same rays twice. This only increases the risk for damage.

"It's easy to associate winter with frostbite and windburn, but most people don't realize UV rays can be every bit as damaging on the slopes as on the beach," says Dr. …

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Sunburns Just as Likely in the Winter, So Use Sunscreen
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