Winter sunscreen is more important than you think

Believe it or not, but, for you and your family winter sunscreen is even more important than you think.…
Winter sunscreen is more important than you think
Foto: Flickr / familymwr

Believe it or not, but, for you and your family winter sunscreen is even more important than you think. Sure, you’re not outside as much, but, the sun is actually closer to the Earth during winter, and its rays are therefore even stronger. Taking care of your sensitive Latina skin year round should be a priority if you want to protect yourself from sun damage and lessen the chances of skin cancer. It isn’t just your face you ought to be concerned with, the most often overlooked parts of your body to protect are your hands and feet, these two areas are the most often reported sites, besides the face, to develop skin cancer, mainly because no one ever thinks of applying sunscreen to them.

Choosing the right winter sunscreen for you is simple, buy a broad spectrum SPF with a rating as low as 15 that blocks both UVA and UVB rays; this can’t be stressed enough. Dermatologists recommend using sunscreen year round on any exposed areas of the body, not only for the grown-ups but especially children. Use it if you’re going to be outside for more than 15 minutes at any one time. They even recommend it indoors if your home is well lit by natural lighting. Think about the fading your carpets, draperies, and furniture undergo from sunlight coming into the house, or how paintings and pictures on your walls get lighter over time, and they’re inside! The same harmful exposure is happening to you, whether you know it or not.

The most often overlooked consideration of long winter days comes from playing in the snow. Remember when you’ve got sunburned while in the water at the beach? Well, snow also creates a reflective glare that increases your exposure to harmful rays, and this contributes to the rosy glow we get when playing outside, or performing outdoor activities. It’s not just the cold that’s influencing it, as snow actually reflects roughly 80% of the ultraviolet light that shines upon it. If you live in higher elevations, or you’re planning a ski trip or outing in the mountains, consider that for every 1,000 feet of climbing elevation you increase the exposure to ultraviolet light by roughly another 2%. Depending on the altitude, you’ll need a winter sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 or higher to protect yourself against the added exposure you’ll receive under these conditions.

Slathering on winter sunscreen at least every two hours is highly recommended. This will help to keep your face hydrated, and lessen the chances of irritation from wind and cold. Avoid using sunscreens with a water base in the winter, the water can actually end up freezing on your face if you perspire during periods of heavy activity outside, and it can wreak havoc with your skin causing further irritation and redness.

The truth about skin cancer rates is startling, Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common cancer in Hispanics, and, although melanoma is uncommon in Latinos it is frequently fatal for these populations. According to recent studies, in the last 15 years skin cancer rates have soared by a startling 300%. This is staggering! So, what’s prompted this frightening increase? In large part, sun block, it seems with the advent of summer and winter sunscreens, people are actually spending more time in the sun, assuming that the protective coating they’re applying is all they need. What people fail to realize is that sunscreen needs to be applied more than just once during exposure.