Sunscreen tips to protect your skin
Even when the ground is covered in snow, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s rays. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Cathy D. of Clarksburg, Md.)
Skiing, snowboarding and playing in the snow can do serious damage to your skin. The reflection of the sun on the snow can cause irritation, sunburn and premature aging. One of the most important ways to protect your skin is to avoid overexposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Even during the winter, the sun's rays can put you at risk for skin cancer. Wear protective clothing to prevent windburn and sun damage. Before going out, cover your skin with appropriate ski apparel and apply a good sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. You should reapply sunscreen every two hours or more, especially if you're perspiring or get wet in the snow. Avoid going in the sun between noon and 2 p.m., when the sun's rays are the strongest. Your face and neck are at the greatest risk of sunburn during the winter, so use moisturizers and cosmetics that contain sunscreen. Children who are outdoors during the winter should wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Reapply sunscreen to their face, neck and hands every two hours.
Remember to protect your skin in ways that are less obvious. Your lips, for example, are mucous membranes, and harsh winters can seriously damage their thin surface layers. Without proper care, the cold, dry winter weather can make your lips more prone to chap and crack. Lip balms are a great defense against chapped lips. Avoid lip glosses unless they contain a sunscreen, and try to wear lipstick that has added moisturizers and a sunscreen. If your lips get chapped, avoid using a waxy chap stick; instead, use products that have petrolatum, shea butter or other natural oils.
The best protection for your skin is to know your skin. Even during the winter months, be aware of any changes in your skin and know the signs of skin cancer. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, such as changes in moles, freckles or dark spots, make an appointment to see a local dermatologist as soon as possible.
If you have questions about skin related issues, don't hesitate to visit a dermatologist. Search Angie's List for top rated dermatologists in your area. For example, you can find more than 400 dermatologists in Houston, and close to half have received top ratings from member reviews.