The amount of sun you get skiing might be more than you bargain for

Don’t forget the sunscreen at Big White.

  • Sun bounces off snow
  • Most skin cancer occurs on the face and neck from accumulation
  • Proper sunscreen use is beneficial for beauty

Your bottle of sunscreen may be collecting dust until beach season, but you may not realize how much you need it in winter. That’s especially the case now that we’re slowly getting more sunshine.

Dr. Carmel Anderson at Kelowna Dermatology told Kelowna10, just because it isn’t summer, doesn’t mean you don’t get exposed to harsh amounts of sun. You can still get blistering burns.

“The danger in the winter, for example skiing or snowboarding, is that you get 100 per cent of direct sunlight from the sun, and you can get up to 85 per cent of the UV radiation reflected [off the snow],” Anderson explained.

“If it’s a sunny day in the winter, you can get up to 185 per cent of the UV radiation.”

Too much sun can be harmful for skin because of the UV radiation. Anderson explained most of the spectrum we experience is UVA and UVB. UVC is mostly filtered out by the troposphere.

The positives of getting some sun can’t be overstated. According to Health Canada, it supplies our body with vitamin D which maintains strong bones and teeth. As Anderson pointed out, it also boosts mood.

But too much can be carcinogenic. The area this usually affects is the face given that it’s often the only body part exposed while wearing a snowsuit. Anderson has treated patients with blistered lips from sunburn who wore goggles but not a ski mask.

While facial skin is no less sensitive than any other part of the body, it receives the most accumulated UV damage. According to Anderson, skin cancer most commonly appears on the head and neck.

Anderson’s solution is simple: sunscreen. She recommends bringing a bottle with you to the hill because it needs reapplication about every two hours. Sweat and taking your mask on-and-off can rub it from your face.

Besides health, adequate sunscreen use is a powerful tool for beauty.

“If people knew the benefit of protecting themselves from the sun, the cosmetic industry would not be as wealthy as they are now because there would be way less wrinkles,” Anderson said.

“People ask me, ‘what’s the most powerful laser, what’s the most powerful anti-aging procedure?’ The most powerful one is using sunscreen.”

She added, sun exposure not only makes you look older, but it breaks down your skin’s collagen and alastin, leading to wrinkles.

Published 2022-02-15 by David Hanson

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