Sun-Smarts Aren’t Just For Summer!
Dreaming of a White Christmas? Better get out the sunscreen and shades!
Being smart about the UV rating and your exposure during the winter is almost more important than in the summer (especially in the high altitude snow states). Snow reflects 80% of the dangerous UV rays compared with 25% from sea form and 15% from dry beach sand.
And don’t forget your eyes!
As Anderson Cooper recently discovered, whether caused by water or snow, photokeratitis, or “snow blindness” is extremely painful. Symptoms usually resolve in 24-48 hours but photophobia (sensitivity to light) and blurred vision can persist for a week or longer. In addition, recurrent UV exposure and “sunburns” to your eyes can lead to more serious conditions such as cataracts and ocular melanoma (melanoma in the tissues of the eye and eyelid).
So just because it is getting colder outside and we are covering up more, don’t forget to take care of your skin and be sun smart:
• In addition to routine daily sunscreen (SPF 15 or greater), use a higher SPF if you are going to enjoy outdoor winter sports and reapply every 2 hrs minimum to account for sweating and evaporation.
• Cover up your skin with light-weight, moisture-wicking clothing that can be washed in a UV barrier detergent.
• Wear gloves whenever you go out (snow or not) to keep hands protected from UV damage, aging and dry-cracked skin.
• Wear wide-brimmed hats and protective eye wear that protects from above, around and below (reflected light from the snow) whenever you are outdoors enjoying the sun, snow or both!
For more on ocular melanoma: https://ocularmelanoma.org/
Have a sun-safe winter and holiday season!
— Sonya Droguett