Can Your Skin Get Sunburn In The Winter?

It’s understandable if you are under the impression that sunburn is an exclusive-to-the-summertime problem. In truth, most people endure skin damage during the summer because they expose so much more of their skin to the sun’s harmful UV rays. Of course, this is especially dangerous when no sunscreen is applied.

In the wintertime, however, people tend to cover themselves up. Not only are they exposing a lot less of their skin to the sun, but they are layering up to ward off the cold as well. The winter hasn’t arrived just yet. But on chilly days, it’s still important to remember that we still need to protect our skin from the su

How is it possible to get sunburn in the winter?

As we all know, the sun still shines in the wintertime. And when you neglect to wear sunscreen – which most people do – you leave the exposed skin on your face susceptible to damage at the hands of the sun’s UV rays. In fact, the winter presents situations where those harmful rays can have even greater impacts on our skin. And that’s all thanks to the white snow that often covers the ground.

During the wintertime, sunlight reflects strongly off of white snow. It’s no different than how it would reflect off water from a pool or a lake. In addition to the direct rays of sunlight hitting your skin, the sun’s reflected rays can hit your skin and the overexposure can cause sunburn.

Does participating in winter sports heighten the potential for sunburn?

In a word: yes. It’s important to consider the impact of altitude in addition to the white winter surfaces that enable the sun’s UV rays to bounce around. People who enjoy skiing obviously have to take to the hills in order to participate in this fun winter activity. However, as the University of Nevada School of Medicine explains in a post on, the higher the altitude, the stronger the UV rays.

“At an altitude of 9,000 to 10,000 feet, ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun may be 35 to 45 percent stronger than at sea level,” they explain, “Also, the snow reflects the sun's UV rays and can almost double the amount of sun exposure received. This is why it is important to continue to use skin protective measures during the winter in order to protect yourself from the damaging effects of the sun. This includes wearing sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, lip balm with an SPF of at least 15, gloves, sunglasses and a hat.”

What is the best way to treat sun damaged skin?

At the Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre, we proudly offer Broadband Light (BBL). BBL is the world’s most powerful IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) device on the market. It sets new standards in treating skin conditions associated with aging, active life-styles and sun damage. BBL energy allows your physician to treat age and sun spots, small facial veins, and many other skin conditions. Your physician’s treatment plan will be tailored to match your skin type and your desired results.

If you have any questions or wish to book an appointment, please don’t hesitate to call us at 403-358-5818. You may also email us at amlvc(at)

Posted: November 4, 2020

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