Friday, January 31, 2020

It May Be Winter But Don't Forget The Sunscreen.

Panorama, Morning, About, The, Clouds Yes, it is the middle of winter where it is still cold and the days are still short.  The sun can get bright enough to need sun glasses  even though the temperature is below zero.  Most people think this is the perfect weather to enjoy going without skin protection because there is no chance of getting a sunburn! But is that true?

Yes and no.  If you live in a southern state where winter makes the place bearable such as in Florida or Arizona, you definitely want to wear your normal amount of sunscreen because the sun is still direct and you can still get a nasty sunburn.

If you are in the north, where every part of your body is covered and you don't think you need it, you do.  You need to use sunscreen. Although you are fairly well covered, the snow tends to reflect light in the same way water does.  In other words, snow reflects up to 90 percent of the harmful UVA rays. These rays cause both skin cancer and is the source of almost all the wrinkles you find on your face.

In addition, when you are at higher elevations, your are more exposed to Ultraviolet rays due to the thinning atmosphere.  In fact, it has been found that UV radiation increases four to five percent for ever 1000 feet you rise in elevation so the higher you go, the more exposure you face.  Those who engage in outdoor activities need to remember this especially when they spend the day on the ski runs.  This is one reason it is recommended you wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more even if it is the middle of winter.

Furthermore, it may seem cloudy, gray, and cold but people often think clouds offer more protection than they actually do at any time of the year.  Even on a cloudy, cold, day, the clouds only block about 20 percent UVA rays so you really aren't being protected from potential skin cancer and seeing your skin age more rapidly.  In addition, the ozone layer which absorbs UV rays is thinnest during the winter so there are more rays coming through.

The other thing to remember about UV rays is that they penetrate glass so even if you are sitting in front of a picture window with your cup of hot, steaming, chocolate, you are still being exposed and could experience damage.  Furthermore, the damage tends to accumulate over the winter months without you being aware of it.

Don't forget to cover your scalp so you don't get a sunburned scalp.  According to statistics, six percent of the melanomas diagnosed are found on the neck and scalp while ten percent of those who die due to melanoma do so from this type of cancer.  So be sure to wear both a hat and your sunscreen.

One of the best reasons to wear sunscreen in both summer and winter is that it slows down the aging process by almost 25% as compared to those who did not use any sunscreen.   So rather than be one of the 20 percent of the population who ends up with skin cancer, use sunscreen every day, even on the coldest, shortest day so you protect your skin and slow down the aging process.

I wear a light weight broad -spectrum sunscreen every day summer or winter.  When I want a bit of color, I make sure I have a liquid foundation that contains sunscreen and I mix a bit of it with my regular sunscreen so I don't look like I'm wearing anything.  One of my students was surprised I had foundation on because it looked so natural.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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