Sun Safety Is Always in Season
Take a year-round approach to skin cancer prevention.
Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) light is one of the best ways to help prevent skin cancer—and not just during the long, hot days of summer. Experts say you need sun protection year-round.
Why? Although the sun may not feel as warm on your skin during colder months, its UV radiation still reaches your skin. That’s true even on sunless days—UV light can cut through clouds.
And winter weather can bring an added risk: UV exposure goes up around snow, which can reflect up to 80% of UV rays. That means UV rays can damage your skin from above and from below. Keep that in mind if you’re out enjoying snow sports like skiing or sledding.
Prevent sun damage this winter
No matter the season or what shade of skin you have, safeguarding your skin is important. If you spend time outside this winter:
Move to the shade whenever you can.
And try to limit how much time you spend outdoors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In winter, that’s when UV rays are most intense.
Slather on sunscreen.
Check the label to make sure your sunscreen is broad-spectrum (blocks UVA and UVB rays) and water-resistant and that it offers at least a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30. Apply sunscreen wherever you have exposed skin—like your face, head, and neck—about 15 minutes before going out, so your skin has time to absorb it. You’ll need to reapply sunscreen every two hours or after sweating, so pack some extra in your car or your purse.
Look sporty in sunglasses.
Sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV rays can help protect the skin around your eyes, as well as reduce your risk of eye damage from the sun.
Dress to protect.
Chances are, you already wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts in winter. That’s good. To boost protection, consider clothing made with sun-resistant materials. Look for ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) on the label. Shade your face and ears with a hat.
Don’t skip your lips.
Choose a lip balm or lipstick with an SPF of at least 30, and remember to re-apply it every two hours if you’re outdoors. Chapped lips burn more easily, so avoid products that make your lips sting or tingle. That’s a sign of irritation, which can make chapped lips worse.
Keep an eye on your skin
Checking your skin regularly may help you spot skin cancer early, when it’s often easier to treat successfully. If you notice anything that concerns you, let your doctor or a dermatologist know.
If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer, you can access a full spectrum of care at Fox Chase Cancer Center, including clinical trials and innovative treatments that other centers may not offer. Learn more about the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Program, which brings together some of the nation’s best skin cancer and melanoma doctors.
To schedule a consultation at Fox Chase, call 888.369.2427 or request an appointment online.