In the summer, with the sweltering heat and the hot sun beating down on you, you’re reminded to slather on sunscreen before you leave the house; but in the winter when it’s cooler, most people forget their sunscreen and assume that if they aren’t feeling the warm sun on their skin that sunscreen isn’t necessary. After all, if you’re not directly in the sun, can the sun’s harsh rays affect your skin?
In short, yes. Even on overcast winter days, you should wear sunscreen whenever you head outside. Wearing sunscreen all year round is important for skin cancer prevention, as well as to fend off signs of premature aging of the skin.
UVA Rays in the Winter
UVA and UVB are both types of UV radiation that come from the sun. UVB rays are, in fact, reduced during the winter when cloud coverage obstructs the sun. UVA rays, however, are around throughout the year. Long-term skin damage, such as wrinkles, is the main concern associated with UVA exposure. However, UVA rays are also connected to some types of skin cancer.
Wearing Sunscreen in the Winter
Your risk of developing skin cancer depends on both genetics and the amount of radiation that you’ve been exposed to. You can reduce your risk by limiting the radiation that you receive from the sun throughout the year with sunscreen. Sunscreen will protect your skin from the sun’s harsh rays that could lead to skin damage. Sun exposure is cumulative so it’s essential that you start early and wear it throughout your life. We all know how much fun it is trying to get your children to wear sunscreen but they will thank you later. Don’t you wish you knew more about the importance of sunscreen when we were young rather than slathering our bodies with baby oil and sun worshiping.
During the winter, make sure to wear sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher whenever you go outside. The sunscreen should also provide broad-spectrum protection, meaning that it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. You can also purchase sunwear with 50+ SPF in the fabrics. It’s fashionable these days to cover up especially in Florida. If you didn’t heed the warning early enough, it’s never too late to start. There are skin treatments you can discuss with your dermatologist that can improve sun damaged skin over time.
In addition to wearing sunscreen, regular skin exams from a medical professional are important to ensure that any signs of skin cancer are detected as early as possible. Contact The Bowman Institute today to schedule an exam with our team of skin cancer experts.