Summer’s Over, But You Still Need to Protect Yourself
The warm weather may be ending, but that doesn’t mean that it’s safe to put away your sunscreen. Sun damage is just as likely to occur during the winter as it is during the summer. Dr. Jorge Garcia-Zuazaga, Dr. Tracy Ringo, Dr. Brian Moore and Dr. Amy Polster, your Cleveland, OH dermatologists, explain why your skin cancer risk doesn’t decline during the winter.
Why am I still at risk of sun damage during the winter?
Even when it’s cold outside, ultraviolet rays from the sun still reach your skin. Those blustery, cloudy days of winter don’t offer any protection from the sun, since 80 percent of the rays can penetrate the clouds. Although UVB rays decrease during the winter, UVA rays remain just as strong.
Exposure to UVA rays not only raises your skin cancer risk, but also causes premature aging. Your chances of developing skin cancer increase if you spend time outdoors year-round, particularly if you live in or visit higher altitudes that expose your skin to a higher level of radiation. When rays reflect off the snow, your risk of sun damage increases even more.
How can I protect my skin?
Wearing sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 will help block ultraviolet rays and reduce damage. Reapply the product often, particularly if you work up a sweat after a downhill run. Your lips can also suffer from sun damage. Protect them by wear a lip balm that provides sun protection.
Although you don’t hear much about it, exposure to ultraviolet rays can also cause cancer in your eyes or on your eyelids. Slipping on a pair of sunglasses that provide UVA and UVB exposure will help minimize the risk.
Winter or summer, the sun’s rays are most intensive at mid-day. Avoid spending long periods of time outdoors between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. if you can.
Skin Protection in Cleveland
Are you worried that changes in a mole or new growth on your skin may be signs of skin cancer? Call Dr. Garcia-Zuazaga, Dr. Ringo, Dr. Moore and Dr. Polster, your Cleveland, OH dermatologists, at (440) 352-7546 to make an appointment to discuss your concerns.