Doctors at Pall Mall Medical have urged winter funseekers to pack all-important sunscreen if heading off to the slopes for a winter get-away.
Despite the freezing mountain temperatures, this is one of the places that you’re most likely to get sunburned and suffer from skin damage. The reason behind this is predominantly due to being at a higher altitude, which provides less atmosphere to filter the UV rays.
Snow also reflects 85 per cent of the rays off the ground. This is often the reason that skiers and snowboarders can be burnt in unusual areas such as under the chin and nose, even in the shade.
The problem is made worse by the fact that the skin areas exposed to the sun on a ski holiday, particularly the face, are the most likely areas for skin cancer to develop. In addition, due to the nature of winter sports, keen skiers and snowboarders will be exposed to the sun’s UV rays on the slopes for six to seven hours per day.
Each year about 44,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the UK.
The advice from Pall Mall Medical is to cover up and wear a long-sleeved top, preferably with a roll or zip up collar, hat, gloves and good quality wrap-around sunglasses or goggles which offer at least 99 per cent protection from UV.
Skiers and snowboarders are also advised to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30 or higher whenever you spend extended time outdoors. Apply this 30 minutes before hitting the slopes and be aware of the sun’s reflection even on cloudy days.
A moisturising sunscreen can be particularly useful in winter conditions to also prevent the skin drying out, and this should be reapplied every two hours, and immediately after heavy sweating.
For the lips, a balm with an SPF 15 or higher will protect this sensitive area of the face. A travel-sized sunscreen and lip balm are perfect to carry with you on the slopes, making it easy to re-apply on the chairlift, especially after a long, snow-blown run.