Skin protection at the snow

Whether you are hitting the slopes this ski season or just sightseeing, skin protection should be a priority. Although some great ski gear is available to keep you warm, skin and eye protection are just as important to stay comfortable.

We associate sunburn with heat, yet it is the UV rays that cause sunburn, skin and eye damage. As sun damage ultimately leads to skin cancer the SunSmart advice of Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide still applies.

That is;

  • Slip on clothing that covers as much skin as possible
  • Slop on SPF30 or higher, broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen
  • Slap on a hat or beanie that protects your face, neck and ears
  • Seek shade where possible or ski only in the morning and afternoon to avoid the midday sun.
  • Slide on goggles or sunglasses with the Australian Standard AS:1067 protection

It is important to consider that snow can reflect up to 90 percent of UV radiation, so you will be exposed to UV from above and below. The UV radiation will also be more intense as less atmosphere reduces the absorbed UV and a higher altitude increases the radiation intensity.

To cater for this reflected sunlight, some areas of the face will need more attention such as the chin, lips, behind the ears and beneath the tip of the nose.

Keep in mind that the term ‘windburn’ is actually sunburn and that wind only dries and irritates the skin. So using a sunscreen with moisturiser will take care of UV and dry skin at the same time.

Along with applying sunscreen liberally 20 minutes before heading out, it is wise to pack a small tube of sunblock and some SPF lip balm in your jacket to top up with every couple of hours, throughout the day .

All of this should make for a more pleasant experience at the snow, especially if you are lucky enough to have good weather.

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