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  • Caring for Your Skin in the Winter

    Published: 12/02/2013


    Sun protection may not be the first thing on your mind once the thermometer drops, but shielding your skin from UV during the coldest months will pay dividends year round. Our own dermatologist, Dr. Jonathan Wolfe, shares some tips:

    When it’s Windy:

    A moisturizing sunscreen can treat dry, chapped skin while it protects against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. Try to avoid preparations with alcohol because they may be too drying. Since wind can thin sunscreen, be sure to reapply two tablespoons or sunscreen to all exposed areas every two hours.

    When it’s Cold:

    Hats with 3 inch brims shade your head, face, and neck. A good portion—possibly more than half—of the heat generated by your body is lost from your head, meaning that a broad brimmed hat is not only sun safe and fashionable, but it keeps you warm too. Be aware that if you wear a knit cap, you’ll only protect the top of your head and your ears.

    When it’s Cloudy:

    Up to 80% of the sun’s UV radiation can penetrate clouds, so don’t neglect sun protection even on overcast days.

    When it’s Sunny:

    Don’t be fooled into thinking that your best preparation for a getaway to warmer climates this winter is a “base tan.” A tan is a sign that sun damage has occurred. Trying to protect your skin from burning by subjecting it to damage from cancer causing UV tanning lamps is simply self defeating. Wear sun protective clothing and slather on sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher for a sunny and safe winter break.

    If you still think it’s not a vacation without a tan, go for the glow with non UV self tanning products. But not all self tanners provide UV protection, so they must be used with sunscreen. Even if they do include sunscreen, you need to use a separate sunscreen the next time you’re out in the sun.

    When on Vacation:

    Intermittent, intense sun exposure-the kind you get when you shed your winter coat for a swimsuit on vacation without using adequate sun protection—puts you at higher risk for developing both melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, and basal cell carcinoma, the most common skin cancer. Beach holidays also present another threat: Sand and water reflect up to 80 percent of the sun’s radiation, adding to the intensity of exposure.

    Finally, it’s not just tropical trips that are dangerous. Snow and ice reflect the sun’s radiation too, adding to your exposure. For every 1,000 feet of altitude, you’re exposed to an extra 8-10 percent of UV radiation. If your trip is a winter sports’ lover’s dream, wear wraparound sunglasses with 99-100% UV protection, and save both your eyes and skin.

  • Communications Team