'Be Prepared': Winter sun dangers - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

'Be Prepared': Winter sun dangers

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Sunny day during the last winter season. (File photo) Sunny day during the last winter season. (File photo)
People walking in downtown Quincy during a sunny day last winter. People walking in downtown Quincy during a sunny day last winter.
Skin products are sometimes necessary during the winter. Skin products are sometimes necessary during the winter.
Sunny day in downtown Quincy. Sunny day in downtown Quincy.
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

If you're packing up the sunscreen as we go into the winter months, local dermatologists say you should think twice.  

Even though the sun's UV rays are not as intense in the winter, we're still exposed to them. Dermatologists say the risk for skin cancer does not stop during cold weather.  

They say it's important to wear sunscreen year-round. They also have a warning for people who spend hours either playing in the snow or shoveling it.

"Snow and ice can be reflective of ultraviolet light, so you can actually get twice as much sun on your face as you would any other time of year," Quincy Medical Group Dermatologist Dr. Anna Levin said. "Just because it's a little cooler out doesn't necessarily mean that you are getting any less ultraviolet light, which is what we are trying to protect ourselves from."

It's also important to know that even on cloudy days, you are still exposed to UV rays and can be sunburned.

Below are sun protection tips from SkinCancer.org:

  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30 or higher whenever you spend extended time outdoors. Apply 30 minutes before hitting the slopes. Be aware that the sun's reflection off the snow is strong even on cloudy days. (Up to 80 percent of the sun's rays can penetrate clouds)
  • Apply sunscreen liberally and evenly to all exposed skin - most skiers and snowboarders do not use enough. You should apply at least a teaspoon to the face.
  • Use a moisturizing sunscreen with ingredients like lanolin or glycerin. Winter conditions can be particularly harsh on the skin.
  • Be sure to cover often-missed spots: the lips, ears, around the eyes, and on the neck, the underside of chin, scalp and hands. 
  • Reapply every two hours, and immediately after heavy sweating. 
  • Always wear a lip balm with an SPF 15 or higher - lips are very sensitive.
  • Cover your head - it will protect your scalp and help keep you warm.
  • Wear items like ski masks, which will leave very little skin exposed to the wind and sun. 
  • Sunglasses or goggles that offer 99 percent or greater UV protection and have wraparound or large frames will protect your eyes, eyelids and the sensitive skin around your eyes, which are common sites for skin cancers and sun-induced aging.
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