Whenever my sunscreen habits come up in conversation (which can happen more often than you’d think, when I forget to buy unscented sunscreen), I inevitably end up with some strange looks. I wear 80 SPF sunscreen under my foundation nearly every day. I apply 100 SPF sunscreen to my arms, hands, and neck every day. I’ve met plenty of people who didn’t even know 100 SPF sunscreen existed! But this somewhat obsessive routine isn’t just for the summer – it is a year-round skin care routine. The winter sun can be just as harmful to the skin as summer sun, so make sure your kiddos are putting sunscreen on before playing in the snow!
On a cloudy day, it is still not good to go out without sunscreen, as up to 80% of the sun’s rays can penetrate clouds. In addition, snow reflects about 80% of the UV light from the sun, so you’ll often be hit by the same rays twice.
Sunscreen is especially important at higher elevations. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the greater the elevation, the higher the risk for exposure to harmful UV rays. UV exposure increases about 5% with every 1,000 feet above sea level.
Before going out to play in the snow, make sure to apply sunscreen to children’s faces, ears, neck, hands, and other exposed areas and reapply every two hours. Lip balm with an SPF of at least 15 should also be applied to keep the lips hydrated against the chilly winter air. Sunglasses can protect eyes from the harsh reflections on the snow, which can be damaging to the eye area.
Adult should also wear sunscreen, not only to encourage good habits in the children, but because sunscreen reduces the risk of skin cancer and wearing it regularly might slow the aging process of 24%, as shown in a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine! Sunscreen prevents irritated and burned skin, is basically a fountain of youth, and protects from skin cancer – so why not wear it?