“Well, yes, I wear sunblock when I'm going to the beach, but….” We hear this all the time in our dermatology office in Norwalk, Ridgefield and Danbury. You may be tired of hearing our speech, but you need sunblock every day, even in the winter.
Winter skin is more sensitive to sun than tanned summer skin because it is no longer used to the UV radiation. Melanin concentration is reduced as well because we have less UV radiation during the winter so the skin produces less of it. So when your skin is not as tan, it will be more sensitive to UV radiation.
UV rays damage the skin, causing premature aging, wrinkles, dark spots, and skin cancer. Repeated exposure to UVA and UVB lead to dry, less resilient, weathered skin that can make you look older than you are. With cumulative exposure, UV plays a major role in the formation of both melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers. Each year, about 2.8 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer and over 8,000 Americans will die from melanoma
While it may be winter, many of us enjoy outdoor activities such as skiing, skating, or simply taking walks. We all know to protect ourselves when outside in the sunny weather, but it is important to shield from the sun even in these indoor days with the weaker low winter sun. In fact, as much as half of your sun exposure happens while you are driving or indoor! Glass blocks only UVB rays, which is why you do not burn, but it does not block the UVA rays that cause sun spots, fine lines, and some skin cancers. UV is also reflected off of ice and snow—as you see on the burned faces of skiers with ‘goggle-tans—and that reflection doubles the UV exposure. And, if you have ever had a sunburn on a cloudy day at the beach, you know that UV rays penetrate clouds as well.
So please, listen to the advice of your dermatologist and wear a sunblock every day, year round, even if you are mostly inside the house or car!