We all know that it’s important to slather ourselves in sunscreen during the summer months, but do you think about sunscreen in the winter? When it’s cool outside, and probably overcast, most of us don’t think about putting on sunscreen as we layer on the clothing. Does it surprise you to know that many experts feel it’s just as important to wear sunscreen in the winter as it is in summer?
If you’re out in the ice and snow, you may already realize that you need sunscreen. Snow and ice reflect the sun, and can, in fact, reflect up to 90 percent of UV rays. If you’re participating in snowy winter sports like skiing, you should be applying sunscreen every three to four hours to any exposed part of your body. You should also be wearing sunglasses, to protect your eyes from all that glare.
But what if you live somewhere with no snow? Do you still need to wear sunscreen when it’s gray and gross outside? Yes, and there’s a very good, scientific reason for it. When it’s colder, the ozone layer is thinner. In fact, the ozone layer is at its thinnest in the winter months, which means we’re more vulnerable to harmful UV rays. The sun’s rays are strongest in the middle of the day, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so make sure you wear sunscreen any time you’re outside during those hours, no matter what the season may be.
What kind of sunscreen should you be wearing in the winter? If you’re active, look for one that’s specially formulated for winter sports. Your sunscreen should have an SPF of at least 30, though going higher than 30 won’t necessarily offer significantly more protection. That’s because, at SPF 30, 97 percent of the harmful UV rays are already blocked, so there’s not much more protection needed. Your sunscreen should be moisturizing, as well, because windburn can be brutal during the winter months if your skin is unprotected. It’s also wise to wear a lip balm that contains a sunscreen, to keep your lips from becoming burned and chapped.
If you’re looking for a partner to help you protect your skin, you can trust Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology. At Swinger-Woseth, we’re committed to providing superior, professional skin care in a manner that’s practical and efficient, yet compassionate. With more than 30 years of experience providing dermatological services in Salt Lake City, we provide a wide range of services, from cosmetic skincare to treatment for skin cancer. Our team of board-certified dermatologists and licensed cosmetic service providers, along with our friendly staff, are here to provide you the care you need in a comfortable and professional atmosphere. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us through our website or call 801-266-8841 today.