Do I need to wear sunscreen during the winter?

During the winter months, many of us are ready to pack up the flip-flops and swimwear and bust out the snow boots and coats. But what about sunscreen? Should we keep the sunscreen available year-round, or pack it away with our summer clothes? The dermatologists of Dermatology Consultants of Short Hills in Short Hills, NJ strongly encourage patients to use sunscreen year-round—even during the winter months!

Why is sunscreen use during the winter so important?

Our dermatologists strongly advise that patients wear sunscreen all year round for a variety of reasons:

  • Thin ozone layer – during the winter months, the ozone layer in the atmosphere that absorbs harmful UV rays is at its thinnest. This means that more UVA and UVB rays will penetrate through the Earth’s atmosphere more effectively than during the summer months. Wearing sunscreen on any exposed skin is best, especially if you are out between 10am and 4pm when the sun’s rays are at their strongest.
  • Intensity of sun rays on snow – many patients unexpectedly get sunburn while spending time outdoors in the winter. Why does this happen? This is because snow and ice on the ground can reflect most of the UV rays that come through the atmosphere. If you have exposed skin that is not protected with sunscreen, you can still get sunburn while participating in outdoor sports or activities for extended periods of time.
  • Winter sports and elevation – are you ready to hit the slopes? If so, pack your sunscreen! UV radiation exposure increases exponentially as you increase in elevation, approximately 5% for every 1,000 feet above sea level. Apply strong sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to all exposed areas and reapply as needed when spending extended time outdoors.

Learn more about caring for the skin

Patients in the Short Hills, NJ area who are interested in learning more about the advantages of caring for the skin with sunscreen year-round are strongly encouraged to take the time to speak to our team. We are located at 636 Morris Turnpike, Suite 2H, and accept new patients. Call for a consultation visit at (973) 232-6245.

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