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hiking in snow

Printed with permission from South Shore Hospital's Youth Health Connection Newsletter 

It is wintertime here in New England, and for many of us, it means hitting the slopes. Whether you are a skier, snowboarder or skater, you must know the importance of protecting your skin – even with below freezing temperatures. Ultraviolet rays are more dangerous at higher altitudes, reflecting off the snow and onto our skin. This makes us just as susceptible to skin damage in the cold winter months as in the summer months! Even just a few minutes of high sun exposure a day can lead to noticeable changes to the skin and will accelerate facial aging, making you look much older than you really are. Who wants that?

To protect your youthful skin from sun damage, perhaps even preventing a deadly melanoma, remember these tips before hitting the slopes:

-Wear an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 30 sunscreen on your face with broad-spectrum protection (protecting against Ultraviolet A & Ultraviolet B rays).
-Apply this before stepping outside and heading to the mountain for the day and remember to apply every two hours. Snow and strong wind can wear away sunscreen.
-Wear good sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes, eyelids and the sensitive skin around your eyes. Each of these is common sites for skin cancers.
- Lip skin is very thin! Be mindful and apply SPF there too. Use a lip-balm with at least a SPF 15. These lip-balms are easy to carry and easy to use.
- Pay attention to the early signs of sun damage – uneven pigmentation, lesions and changes in mole appearance. Go see a dermatologist! To learn more about the ABCDE’s of skin changes visit: http://bit.ly/1MU2StE

For more information on skin cancer visit: www.skincancer.org
To learn how to read a sunscreen label visit: http://bit.ly/1L85koN

 

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