Sun protection is just as important during the winter as it is during the warmer months. It might feel cold outside, but that doesn't have anything to do with the strength of the sun's ultraviolet, or UV, rays. Although people tend to associate heat with sunburn, that's a myth. No matter what the temperature is outside, you can get sunburn. Make sure you educate yourself on a few preventive measures you can take.
Always wear sunblock. You should wear sunblock of at least SPF 15 or higher even in the winter. You'll need to reapply the sunblock periodically because the winter weather will dry it out and strip it from your skin.
Don't forget your lips. Too much sun exposure can lead to dry, cracked lips and, over time, can cause skin cancer. Like sunblock for the rest of your skin, your lip balm should be SPF 15 or higher. You'll need to reapply lip balm often during the day [source: American Academy of Dermatology].
Avoiding sunburn means avoiding the sun, and that means covering up. Wear a hat with a wide brim that shades your entire head, including your ears and neck. Also, don't forget to wear shades that include UV protection and cover your sensitive eye area [source: WebMD]. And whether it's winter or summer, pay attention to the UV index scale. If UV levels are high, very high or extreme, it helps to minimize the amount of time you spend in sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The best way to tell if your sun exposure is too high is to look at your shadow -- if it's shorter than you, as it usually is during the midday, seek out shade [source: Environmental Protection Agency].
From sunburn and windburn prevention to dry skin, winter poses a number of unique skin care challenges. With a little thought and planning, you can enjoy your winter escapades without worrying about Jack Frost ruining your fun.
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More Skin Care Questions
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Dermatologists' Top 10 Tips for Relieving Dry Skin." (Aug. 1, 2009) http://www.skincarephysicians.com/agingskinnet/winter_skin.html
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Winter Skin Care Guidelines." (July 27, 2009)http://www.skincarephysicians.com/eczemanet/winterizing_tips.html
- Baumann, Leslie, MD. "Take the Sting Out of Windburn." Yahoo Health. Feb. 29, 2008. (July 27, 2009) http://health.yahoo.com/experts/skintype/11491/take-the-sting-out-of-windburn/
- Casey, John. "Beat the Itch of Winter Skin." MedicineNet.com. Jan. 19, 2004. (July 27, 2009) http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=52369
- Davis, Susan. "10 Winter Skin Care Tips." WebMD. (July 27, 2009)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/ten-winter-skin-care-tips
- DermNet NZ. "Dry Skin." (July 27, 2009) http://www.dermnetnz.org/dermatitis/dry-skin.html
- DermNet NZ. "Topical Sunscreen Agents." (July 27, 2009)http://www.dermnetnz.org/treatments/sunscreens.html
- Environmental Protection Agency. "UV Index Scale." Environmental Protection Agency. May 19, 2009. (Aug. 1, 2009) http://www.epa.gov/sunwise/uviscale.html
- Euwer, Rebecca L., MD. "Skin Care Protection and Sun Protection for Winter Sports." (July 27, 2009) http://www.skincarenet.org/article-14.html
- Irwin, Brandith. "Winter Skin Care - Brandith Irwin, MD 12/18/03." MedicineNet.com. (July 27, 2009) http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=54655
- Mayo Clinic. "Dry Skin." (July 27, 2009) http://www.Mayoclinic.com/health/dry-skin/DS00560
- Stoppler, Melissa Conrad, MD. "Sun Protection and Sunscreens." MedicineNet. (July 27, 2009) http://www.medicinenet.com/sun_protection_and_sunscreens/article.htm
- Torch Magazine. "U.S. Air Force Fact Sheet To Prevent Sunburn and/or Windburn." (July 27, 2009) http://www.torch.aetc.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?fsID=11658
- University of Iowa Health Care. "Winter Dry Skin." 2005. (July 27, 2009)http://www.uihealthcare.com/topics/skinhealth/winterskin.html
- WebMD. "Cold Temperature Exposure - Home Treatment." July 5, 2007. (July 27, 2009) http://firstaid.webmd.com/tc/cold-temperature-exposure-home-treatment
- WebMD. "Protecting Your Skin from the Sun - Topic Overview." July 10, 2007. (July 27, 2009)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/protecting-your-skin-from-the-sun-topic-overview