Algoma Public Health
- Winter Sun Sense
Winter Sun Sense
Don't be fooled by cold temperatures and snow, the potential for sunburn in the winter can still be very high. Rain, shine, or snow, protect your skin against the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation (UV rays).
In the winter, UV reflect off snow as much as 80%.This can nearly double the strength of harmful UV rays. No sun doesn't mean that unprotected skin is safe as up to 80% of UV radiation can pass through clouds.
UVB rays may decrease in the winter time, but UVA rays that penetrate deep into your skin causing long-term damage remain strong. Additionally, higher altitudes at ski hills significantly increase the risk of serious sunburn.
Remember the importance of sun safety while you're out enjoying all that winter in Algoma has to offer!
Winter Sun Safety Guidelines
- Apply a broad spectrum (protects against both UVA and UVB radiation) with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or greater to all exposed skin 20 minutes before heading outdoors. Reapply at least every two hours, or sooner if you are sweating or are exposed to strong wind.
- Use a lip balm with a SPF of 15-30 to protect lips. Reapply every hour.
- Always wear approved eyewear. Wrap-around sunglasses or goggles that provide 100% UV protection are ideal.
- Wear a wool or fleece hat that can be pulled over your ears and protect your neck with a scarf.
- If possible, plan outdoor activities before 10 AM and after 4 PM. This decreases the amount of time spent outdoors when sunlight is the strongest.
- If you are spending the day outdoors, take a few breaks indoors and remember to apply your sunscreen.
If you are escaping the snow and winter for a vacation on the beach, don't forget to include sun safety in your travel plans. The intensity of the sun increases the further south you go.
As you prepare for your vacation, forgo the tanning beds. The idea that a "base tan" protects your skin from sun damage is false. Tanning beds do not provide any protection as UV radiation present in tanning beds is two to five times stronger than the sun. The radiation from the tanning bed can damage your skin and increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Remember, no tan is a safe tan.
Visit your sun safety page to ensure you're prepared for a sun-safe vacation.