Sunscreen in the Winter?

Do you wear sunscreen in the winter? If you ski, you should. While ultraviolet light is definitely weaker in the winter, it reflects 4 times as much off of snow than off of sand. And as you ride that chair lift, it increases 4% for every 1,000 feet you ascend. So when you ski in Vail, you’re going above 8,000 feet, and you get a third more UV light – plus you get a dose in the face from above and a second dose from the snow.

Posted on | Arthur Perry, MD, FACS | Comments ()

Do you wear sunscreen in the winter? If you ski, you should. While ultraviolet light is definitely weaker in the winter, it reflects 4 times as much off of snow than off of sand.  And as you ride that chair lift, it increases 4% for every 1,000 feet you ascend. So when you ski in Vail, you’re going above 8,000 feet, and you get a third more UV light – plus you get a dose in the face from above and a second dose from the snow.

As if that’s not bad enough, most light-skinned people have lost their summer tans by the time they ski, setting them up for even more damage.

So, what to do? A number 30 SPF sunscreen with zinc oxide will keep your nose from frying from UV light, even while it is in danger of frostbite. But that’s another story.

And for those of you who don't brave the slopes, a number 15 SPF will keep your skin happy.

Blog written by Arthur Perry, MD, FACS
Dr. Perry has over 2 decades of experience as a clinical surgeon and has been named to the “Best Doctors in the NY Area” book...