Sun safety is important year round, including in the winter. While many may overlook sun protection in colder climates, the sun’s rays can be extra strong and damaging due to reflection off the snow or if you’re at higher altitude.
When participating in outdoor activities like skiing, sledding, or simply taking a walk outside, it’s critical to prioritize your sun and winter skincare protection. To ensure winter fun all season long, make sure to follow these top tips from the Society for Pediatric Dermatology for best skincare protection, especially as temperatures drop:
Don’t forget the SPF
Similar to sun exposure in the summer, you should be applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, as often as every one to two hours. While you may not have as much skin exposure as in the summer, do not forget to cover your face, hands, and neck, as well as any additional skin surfaces that may be exposed.
Colder weather, wind, and dry air can make your skin more sensitive. Don’t forget to use moisturizer creams and ointments regularly to restore moisture in your skin and protect it from irritation. Try switching to a thicker moisturizer in the winter and always moisturize after bathing.
Skin that has been exposed to cold weather may be more sensitive, red, or raw. In the winter, opt for fragrance-free and chemical-free products and sunscreens with ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, as these are better suited for sensitive skin.
Pay attention to the weather reports! Colder temperatures plus wind can increase one’s risk for frostbite, and fast-moving activities like skiing, skating, and sledding will have the effect of added wind chill. Always protect your skin from the cold by wearing multiple layers, including hats, scarves, gloves, jackets, and thermal clothing.
When to seek a dermatologist
Loss of feeling in the skin can be a sign of frostbite, so you should seek medical attention if this occurs. Additionally, if red, dry, or chapped skin does not respond to ointments or cream, ask about topical medications from your dermatologist.
As you enjoy all the fun activities winter has to offer, make sure to stay safe and warm — and, above all else — don’t forget your SPF!