Algoma Public Health
Winter Sun Safety
Don't be fooled by cold temperatures and snow, the potential for sunburn in the winter can still be very high. Rain, sunshine, or snow, protect your skin against the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation (UV rays).
In the winter, UV rays reflect off snow as much as 88%.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 in the winter months. Additionally, UV rays are stronger at higher attitudes. (i.e. ski hills)
Remember the importance of sun safety while you're out enjoying all that winter in Algoma has to offer!
Winter Sun Safety Guidelines
- Apply plenty of sunscreen with SPF 30+ labelled 'broad spectrum' and 'water resistant' on skin not covered by clothes. Reapply regularly.
- Use a sunscreen lip balm. Reapply regularly
- Always wear approved eyewear. Wrap-around sunglasses or goggles that provide 100% UV protection are ideal.
- Wear close fitting/wrap-around sunglasses or goggles that provide 100% UV protection.
- Wear a hat, balaclava or buff to protect your head, face and neck from the sun and wind.
- If spending the day outdoors, remember to take frequent breaks indoors.
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.
Date of creation: December 1, 2016
Date modified: June 2019