You can get skin cancer in summer, too
Just because it's raining doesn't mean you should stop worrying about sun exposure. Sunburn - and even skin cancer - can happen even in winter months!
The Skin Cancer Foundation reported that one in five people will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. Even during cold weather, you're subject to ultraviolet radiation in the form of UVA rays.
The sun reflects off wet grass or hail, for example, and can pass through glass. Changes in temperature don't affect these rays, that can penetrate deep into the layers of your skin, potentially causing long-term damage…
Read on for some advice on how to protect your skin from the sun this winter.
Considerations for winter sun protection
As I’ve already explained, sunburn
and skin cancer
can happen in winter. In terms of protecting your skin from the sun during the winter months, here are a few things to note:
UVA radiation is high in the winter doing damage: UVB radiation decreases but dangerous UVA radiation is still in full force… For the whole day! Both UVA and UVB contribute to skin cancer.
Sun damage is cumulative: Many people don’t realise that the worst areas for skin cancer are those areas exposed day-in and day-out throughout the year, not just in the summertime.
Cloudy weather doesn’t offer much protection: Up to 80% of UV radiation can penetrate this deceptive cover and cause harm to your skin.
Higher altitudes mean dramatically more UV radiation: For every 1,000 feet you climb in altitude, UV radiation increases by 4%.
Important to note: Not all sunscreens are created equally
During winter, it’s important you wear a long-lasting broad spectrum sunscreen that protects you against both UVB and UVA rays. UVB rays are responsible for burning skin and UVA rays are responsible for many skin cancers (as well as premature ageing
Now that you’ve established the need for sunscreen (I hope!), let me explain how not all sunscreens are the same…
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Most sunscreens lose their potency soon after sun exposure. Check out the expiration date on the back of the bottle. There are sunscreens that have active ingredients that remain potent all day. Additionally, many sunscreens aren’t FDA-approved and don’t provide the protection they claim.
According to the FDA, sunblock with SPF 30 is the safest way to go. Anything above SPF 30 isn’t necessary, and anything below isn’t effective enough.
Broad spectrum face sunscreen is a good choice because it contains natural active ingredients that help deliver long-lasting protection against UVB rays, and against the higher wave lengths of UVA rays.
Quick tips for preventing skin cancer this winter
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Wear a full spectrum SPF 30 face sunscreen everyday: Even when it’s overcast outside! Apply it to your face, lips and anywhere else you like whenever you’ll be outside for more than 15 minutes. Apply the cream 15 to 30 minutes before going outside.
Don’t use tanning beds: The artificial UVA radiation in these beds is known to trigger skin cancer. They can also reduce the capacity of your immune system. Opt for tanning sprays or lotions instead.
Pay attention to early signs of skin cancer: And also take precautionary steps. See your dermatologist if you notice any unusual skin spots, changing moles and so on.
Wear sunglasses with UV coating lenses: They won’t only protect your eyes, but the delicate skin around your eyes too if they’re large enough. Oversized sunnies are in style anyway!
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