Sun Protection Needed All Year Long

Helpful Tips to Protect Your Skin During the Winter Months

New York, NY (December 8, 2009) - Although the temperature may be frigid and sunlight less intense, the amount of the sun's damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays reaching the surface of the earth remains very strong throughout the year, especially ultraviolet A (UVA). While ultraviolet B (UVB) rays (the sunburn-causing rays) are the strongest in summer, UVB loses intensity in the winter and UVA rays remain constant.

"Our knowledge of the dangers associated with UVA rays (the sun's longer-wave rays) has grown significantly over the last few decades. We now know that UVA plays a significant role in skin cancer," said Perry Robins, MD, President, The Skin Cancer Foundation. "Therefore, consumers need to educate themselves on how to protect against these damaging rays and remember that sun protection is an all year round concern."

UVA can penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin causing wrinkles, brown spots, sagging, and other signs of skin aging. It also contributes to the development of skin cancers. Although UVA rays are less intense than the shorter wavelength UVB, they can be 30 to 50 times more prevalent than UVB rays. In addition, up to 80% of ultraviolet A and B penetrate through clouds and 100% of UVA rays go through glass.

For effective UVA protection, look for sunscreens that contain some combination of stabilized avobenzone, oxybenzone, mexoryl, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The Skin Cancer Foundation also recommends using sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher daily.

Sun Protection Tips For Everyday

Applying a moisturizer that contains an SPF of 15 or higher to the face, hands, and other exposed areas of the skin will suffice if you don't plan on spending too much time outdoors. Many cosmetics, such as foundation, lipsticks and powder contain an SPF, making sun protection even easier. A powder with an SPF 15+ is a great way to reapply protection without ruining makeup.

Sun Protection Tips For Outdoor Activities

Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and don't forget areas such as underneath the nose and chin where skin is exposed to snow reflection. Snow reflects about 80% of the UV light from the sun, so that the rays hit you twice, further increasing your risk for skin cancer and premature aging. Wear protective clothing such as a hat, gloves and UV-blocking sunglasses with wraparound or large frames. Also, reapply sunscreen at least every two hours, and more often after sweating or exposure to wind and snow. Activities such as skiing and snowboarding call for just as much sunscreen as you would use at the beach.

Remember to be mindful of time spent in the sun, regardless of the season. Sun protection is a part of an overall healthy lifestyle.