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Sun Damage Never Rests: Don’t Let Your Guard Down in the Winter

Sun Damage Never Rests: Don’t Let Your Guard Down in the Winter

Fun in the powdery snow and crisp air is the best part of the winter season. But, you still need to practice proper skincare so the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays don’t damage delicate skin tissue. Fortunately, you can do a lot of things to avoid wrinkles, skin damage, and even cancer this winter.

No matter what time of year you spend outside, too much exposure to UV rays can lead to skin cancer. Douglass Forsha, MD, and his team provide skin cancer screenings and treatments at Jordan Valley Dermatology Center in West Jordan, Utah. By regularly examining abnormal skin changes and abnormal areas, Douglass Forsha, MD, and his team reduce the risk of developing skin cancer. 

Understanding winter sunlight

During the summer, UVB rays are the strongest, causing sunburn. Nevertheless, UVB rays can damage and burn your skin year-round, especially at high altitudes and on reflecting surfaces like snow or ice. Snow reflects nearly 80 percent of UV rays, increasing your risk of skin cancer and premature aging.

The UVA rays are constant throughout the year and can penetrate through clouds and fog. Plus, UVA rays can penetrate glass, so you can still damage your skin on a bright winter day in the house.

Winter sun safety

Sun exposure can make your skin dull and wrinkled and increase your chances of getting skin cancer. Because of that, it's so important to have a healthy skincare regimen. Here are some of Dr. Forsha’s top winter skincare tips.


Clothing is your first line of protection against sun damage. In the winter, it's easier to cover up. Most skin cancers occur on the face, head, and neck, which tend to be exposed year-round. Take your UV-blocking sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat with you when you go out. A hat protects your scalp from UV rays while keeping you warm, and wearing sunglasses will protect your eyes from snow glare.


Even during cold months, you still need to use sunscreen. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to all your exposed skin, especially the tops of your ears, around your eyes, and near your hairline. To combat dry winter skin, choose a moisturizing sunscreen containing ingredients such as lanolin and glycerin. Last but not least, try to avoid the peak sun hours between 10 AM and 4 PM and seek shade whenever you can.

Create a skincare routine

Washing your face every day is essential. The use of harsh and abrasive products will cause more harm than good. Using mild cleansing products and moisturizers will help you take care of your skin. 

After washing your face, your skin shouldn’t feel tight or dry. Use lukewarm water instead of hot water, which will cause more dryness. Let your face air dry a bit, and then apply a moisturizer to help it sink into your pores and hydrate your skin.

Banish bad habits

Most businesses in Utah have tobacco bans in place. You probably spend time outdoors during the winter months if you smoke, sometimes without any skin protection. Additionally, smoking is an unhealthy habit that contributes to many diseases.  

Smoking constricts your blood vessels, decreasing blood flow. In addition to harming your body inside, it also damages your skin. When only a small amount of blood reaches the outer layer of your skin, you start looking paler. Your skin becomes dull, making you appear older. Try giving cigarettes the boot this winter to protect your health and your skin.

Cold weather skin protection

Winter is just around the corner, but you shouldn't let up on your sun-safe habits. The most common cancers can be reduced by continuing to protect yourself from the sun even in the cold, cloudy months.

Would you like to discuss other ways to keep your skin safe this winter? Call Dr. Forsha today at Jordan Valley Dermatology to schedule a preventive skin cancer screening.

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