UV-Protection Still Important in Winter: Sunglasses and Sunscreen Still Matter

sun_protection_winter

This smart skier was sure to sport goggles!

Enjoying the outdoors this winter?

You’re missing something crucial if you’re not wearing sun protection in the winter. It’s easy to relegate shades and sunscreen to the same hot weather category as shorts and bug spray. Many of us remember to protect out skin — after all, sun exposure is the number one cause of aging and more than 90% of skin cancer cases are caused by sun exposure. But many of us forget to protect our eyes by wearing sunglasses.

But you should protect your skin with sunscreen and keep those delicate peepers safe with sunglasses! With up to 80% of the sun’s rays still making it through the clouds, it’s important to remember sun protection in winter (Skin Cancer Foundation).

How Dangerous Are UV Rays in Winter?

uv_rays_winter

It may be gray, but there are still UV rays getting through those clouds. 

It’s true; the UV-rays aren’t necessarily as strong in winter as they are in the summer months. But that doesn’t mean what UV rays there are aren’t dangerous or that your risk doesn’t go up at certain times.

Sun protection is especially important for winter sports enthusiasts. A study cited by USA Today showed that those engaged in winter sports were much more concerned about wearing proper gear for the cold than wearing proper gear to protect themselves from the sun (USA Today).

And this can be especially dangerous. For every 1000 feet above sea level, the UV radiation goes up 4-5%. Meaning that skiing at an altitude of 9,000-10,000 feet above sea level ups UV-radiation by 35-45%. Worse still? The snow reflects up to 80% of the sun’s rays, meaning the rays hit you twice (Skin Cancer Foundation, National Weather Service).

Your Eyes and the Sun

sun_in_winter

Even in cold weather, the winter sun can make you squint.

UV exposure is, undoubtedly, bad for your eyes. But what can it do?

Well, first and foremost, UV-rays on your eyes regularly can cause cataracts to form and cloud your vision. Eventually, if left untreated, cataracts can result in blindness. So time spent with your eyes unprotected in the sun could result in the loss of your vision (Time, EPA).

But that’s not the only issue that can come from unprotected eyes.

Photokeratitis, also known as snow blindness, is temporary blindness that results from time spent around reflective surfaces areas, such as those with sand or snow, as well as the bright lights of tanning beds. It comes from a bad burn to the cornea, or the transparent covering of the eye.

While cancer of the eye is rare, UV-exposure can cause melanoma in the skin around the eyes, including eyelids (MedlinePlus). And though cancer is rare, sun damage can still cause a growth, known as a Pterygium, that can obstruct vision by covering the cornea.

What You Need to Protect Yourself

Unlike your summer shades, though, you might want to consider something a little lighter so that you can see more easily in the gray winter months. Nonetheless, it still needs to have 99% or greater UV-protection. And it’s a good idea to invest in a pair that’s polarized so that you don’t have issues with glare — especially because snow can be very problematic.

[Read More: Want to Postpone Peri-orbital Wrinkles? Make Sure Your Sunglasses Are Polarized!]

oakley_women

Ladies, think of something like Oakley Women’s Overtime Round Sunglasses ($120-180, amazon.com) — and be sure to pick a polarized pair.

Oakley_menGentlemen, think of something like Oakley Men’s Straight Jacket Polarized Sunglasses ($190, amazon.com) — and be sure to opt for the polarized pair too!

Ray-Ben_New_wayfarers

Or consider something unisex like Ray-Ban New Wayfarer Sunglasses ($68.49-236.73, amazon.com).

neutrogena_ultra_sheer

As for skin protection — that’s pretty simple. Stick with a sunscreen that’s SPF 30 or higher and reapply every two hours. Something like Neutrogena Ultra Sheer SPF 45 ($13.34 for two, amazon.com) should do the trick!

Bottom Line

Remember, sun protection in winter is crucial and too many of us forget to put it on. While there’s a lot of information on there about wearing sunscreen — though too many people still forget it! — there’s not as much information about wearing sunglasses.

While it’s particularly important that winter sports enthusiasts protect themselves, everyone needs to worry about winter sun protection. So, be sure to slather on that sunscreen (SPF30 or higher, ever two to three hours) and pop on those shades (99-100UV protection with polarized lenses) and enjoy the outdoors during the winter season.

Related Posts

  • The weather outside may be a winter wonderland, but for your skin, winter can really be a horror. Between the cold of the outdoors and the dryness of the over-heated indoors, your skin faces some seriously harsh conditions. Don't let these pitfalls hold your back from having your best skin this winter. 1. Not Getting…
  • Lots of exciting things are happening in 2012:  the presidential election; the London Olympics; my fifth year of blogging...:-)  And yes, having blogged for nearly a half decade now, there are a few vital lessons about skin care I've learned.  Here are 12 of the most little-known facts I've discovered: 12.  You can use more…
  • Submitted via the FutureDerm.com Facebook page (the best way to reach me): Hi! I'm a big fan of your website and after doing a lot of reading, I've decided I want to use the following products for my morning routine, but I'm not sure what order to apply the products after I cleanse my face:…

by Natalie Bell

One thought on “UV-Protection Still Important in Winter: Sunglasses and Sunscreen Still Matter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>