While most people know the importance of summer sun skin safety measures, they have no idea the dangers they face in winter. Skin cancer is still a very real risk in the colder winter months, especially on sunnier days.
If you want to keep yourself safe this winter, follow these crucial winter sun skin safety tips…
Don’t forget the sunscreen
One of the main misconceptions people have in winter is they don’t need to wear sunscreen. The truth is your skin is still at risk from the sun’s UV rays all year round. Even in winter, the skin can easily get burnt if you don’t take adequate precautions.
Always wear a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB radiation, with at least a SPF 50 rating during the winter months. Don’t forget your lips too – there are lip balms with SPF. Apply at least 20 minutes before outdoors exposure and ensure that you regularly reapply it, especially after excessive sweating or exercise.
Extra care on the slopes
If you are heading to the slopes, take care when at high altitudes where the UV will be greater. You’ll also need to be more vigilant when it is snowy or icy. The sun reflects on icy surfaces, bouncing the UV rays back up onto the skin. The sun’s rays can even penetrate through clouds, so it doesn’t necessarily need to be bright and sunny for the skin to get damaged. Ensure you cover up as much as possible, and apply sunscreen to all exposed skin.
Check your clothing
The cold temperatures in winter mean we tend to cover up most of our bodies, even on sunnier days. However, there are still areas of the body that remain exposed such as the face, neck, and head. These are the areas most at risk of developing skin cancer in winter.
If you do venture out on sunnier days, wear a protective hat, a face mask and sunglasses with large frames. Not only will these protect your head and eyes, eyelids and thin skin around the eyes, but they also help to keep you warmer and limit glare from the sun.
Stay in the shade
Just like in summer, it’s best to stay out of winter sun during peak times. If you do need to head outside, stick to the shade where you can. While you are still at risk of burning in the shade, it is much less likely.
Peak times where the sun is at its strongest tend to run from 11am until 3pm. So, if you are out and about during these times make sure you find plenty of shade to protect yourself.
Keep an eye on your moles
While following the tips above will help to greatly reduce your risk of skin cancer, you should keep a close eye on any moles you have. Take a few minutes to look for any changes in size, colour, or texture. A growing mole can be a sign of Melanoma, so catching it early greatly increases your chances of survival.
Taking care of the skin in winter is crucial if you want to stay safe. It’s easy to forget the dangers of winter sun as we often associate the risk of skin cancer with hot, summer days. While the risk of skin damage is higher in summer, the risks in winter shouldn’t be ignored.
For more advice, call us on 020 3770 5864 to arrange an appointment at the HCA Lister Hospital Clinics (Chelsea Outpatient Centre and Chiswick Medical Centre) or call 020 7808 2785 to book a consultation with Mr Myles Smith at the Royal Marsden Hospital.