Most people know that protecting their skin from the harmful rays of the sun is important when it comes to warding off cancer and maintaining a youthful appearance. It's easy to remember to apply sunscreen during the warm summer months, but many people forget to reach for the sunscreen on a daily basis when winter sets in. However, it's important to recognize the importance of protecting your skin from the sun during winter as well as summer.
Here are three compelling reasons why you shouldn't forget to wear sunscreen next winter.
1. Snow can amplify the sun's rays.
The snow that covers the ground during winter can amplify the effects of the sun. Although you may not realize it, snow actually reflects up to 80% of the harmful UVA rays found in sunlight. This means that when there is snow on the ground, you are nearly doubling your sun exposure.
Taking the time to apply some sunscreen before heading outside during the winter can help you combat the negative effects of both the sun's rays and the reflection of these rays off the snow.
2. Cloud cover won't protect you from the sun's rays.
Many people assume that the sun's rays are not harmful on cloudy days. While clouds do block out visible light, they can actually amplify the UVA rays in sunlight.
Science shows that the many small water droplets contained within clouds are highly reflective, which is why clouds often appear white in color. As the sun's rays pass through these droplets, they are reflected and refracted many times. This process can actually enhance the intensity of the UVA rays that reach the ground on cloudy days. Be sure that you are applying sunscreen daily in the winter, even when the sky is overcast.
3. The Earth is closest to the sun during winter.
If you live in the northern hemisphere, the Earth is closest to the sun during the dead of winter. This means that the sun's rays don't have to travel as far to penetrate the Earth's ozone, decreasing the potential for UVA loss and increasing the potency of the rays that do reach the Earth's surface.
Protecting your skin from the sun is critical during the winter when the sun is closest to the surface of the Earth.
Once you are able to recognize the many factors that can increase sun exposure during the winter, it's easy to see why you should make it a point to incorporate sunscreen into your winter skincare routine in the future. For additional information and advice, contact a dermatologist in your area.