With March set to begin tomorrow, many Canadians are relishing the fact that winter will be coming to an end over the course of the next month. Of course, most know that even when the season transitions into spring, there are many chilly days still ahead. What that means is that we all must continue to bundle up and prepare ourselves for frigid temperatures. Simply put, protecting ourselves from the winter weather is a must – even when it’s not winter.
What we do forget, all too often, is that sunscreen is a necessary part of protecting ourselves from the winter elements. While most of us associate the wearing of sunscreen with the hot and sunny days of summer, it’s important we’re reminded that the sun’s UV rays can still do plenty of damage in the wintertime. While UVB rays may be weaker in the winter so that sunburns are less likely, UVA rays continue to age and damage our skin all year-round.
How are UVA rays able to damage our skin during the winter? Well, the first and most obvious point to reiterate is that most of us tend to forget to wear sunscreen during the winter. That means that our skin exposed to the sun (our faces) suffers from the UVA rays that continue to beat down on us with the same intensity as they would in the summer.
On EmpowHer.com, registered nurse, Michele Blacksberg explains the type of damage that UVA rays can do. “UVA rays are the ones that penetrate deeper in your skin and can cause skin aging and skin cancer to occur,” she points out, “UVA damage is not reversible. Wearing sunscreen can protect you from exposure to these rays.”
How does the snow make the impact of UVA rays worse? This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve highlighted the role of snow in the world of skin damage. It may appear innocent, lying there covering the ground. But snow, in all of its brightness, provides an excellent reflector for UV rays. That means that when it’s on the ground, UVA rays are able reflect off of it and bounce into the exposed skin of our faces.
On BadgerBalm.com, Jentri Jollimore explains that snow actually reflects up to 80 percent of the sun’s rays, compared to sand which reflects about 17 percent. “If you’re a skier, sunscreen in winter is especially important,” she writes, “UV radiation increases 4 percent for every 1,000 foot increase. If you’re going to hit the slopes, definitely slap on some sunscreen.”
Is sunscreen necessary even on cloudy days? Yes. It’s important to put sunscreen on each day whether you can see the sun or not. Studies have shown that up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can still pass through the clouds, reports Blacksberg. “This is how people end up getting sunburn on cloudy days when they have been outside without sunscreen,” she adds.
Evidently, sun damaged skin can occur in a number of ways. And if you’re not wearing sunscreen, you clearly leave yourself more susceptible to sun damage. It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is. At the Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre, we offer a number of safe and effective treatments for sun damaged skin. They include Blue-U PhotoDynamic Therapy, ProFractional and Intense Pulsed Light Photo Rejuvenation (IPL).
For more information about these treatments, please don’t hesitate to call the Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre at 403-358-5818 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.