Snow, Sun, and Skin Cancer: The Unexpected Health Risks of Winter
- Posted on: Jan 15 2023
Just because the temperature outside is cold, it doesn’t mean that you can let your guard down when it comes to sun protection. Several unexpected health risks come with winter – including skin cancer.
Skin cancer is the most common type in the United States, and it’s essential to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays, even in the winter.
Luckily, there are many easy ways to do this. Simply wearing sunscreen and covering it up with clothing can dramatically reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. Keep reading to learn more about the unexpected health risks of winter and how to protect yourself!
The Sunny-Day Myth
One of the biggest myths about skin cancer is that you can only develop it on sunny days. But the truth is, you can get sunburned on cloudy days, in the snow, and even through windows. UV rays can penetrate clouds, and reflections off of snow can amplify the sun’s harmful rays. So even if it’s not sunny outside, it’s vital to protect your skin.
The Unexpected Dangers of Snow
Snow can also reflect up to 80% of the sun’s harmful UV rays, another unexpected danger of winter. So if you’re spending time outside in the snow, you’re at a higher risk of developing skin cancer. Additionally, the experience of being in the snow lowers your body’s natural defenses against the sun’s harmful rays. So it’s essential to take extra care to protect your skin when you’re spending time in the snow.
How to Stay Safe in the Sun and Snow
Luckily, there are several easy ways to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays, even in the winter.
- Wear sunscreen, even if it’s cloudy outside: Look for sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and apply it generously to all exposed skin.
- Put on protective clothing that covers your skin: This includes long sleeves, pants, and a hat. If you’re going to be in the snow, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.
- Limit your time in the sun: This is important, especially during the middle of the day when the sun’s rays are the strongest. If you can, try to stay in the shade and take breaks indoors to give your skin a break from the sun.
Contact Laser & Mohs Dermatology of NYC at 212-391-8600 for more information.
Posted in: Skin Cancer