Doctors say don’t forget the sunscreen when hitting the slopes this winter

11 News this Morning at 6 am
Published: Nov. 25, 2022 at 7:29 AM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Anyone hitting the slopes for snowboarding or skiing this winter might want to think twice before leaving sunscreen at home.

“It is important to protect our skin all year round because whenever we go outside, you’re getting exposed to UV. Skin cancer is due to the cumulative exposure over the years. So, five minutes here, 10 minutes there, an hour here, it all adds up,” explains Dr. Vinh Chung, a Vanguard Skin specialist.

Although it’s cold outside, the risk of skin cancer can actually be elevated during the winter months.

“In the winter months, even though we don’t feel the heat, we’re still getting the UV exposure. So we may be getting a false sense of security that we’re not getting the exposure,” stated Chung, “When we’re up skiing, we’re also getting reflection of the UV in the snow. So, we’re getting it both ways from the sun as well as from the reflection indirectly from the snow.”

To protect your skin in the winter months, make sure you are applying sunscreen throughout the day every two to three hours. Wear protective gear on your neck and head, as those are areas of the body that are most commonly in direct sunlight.

“Skin cancer can be life-threatening but is completely curable if caught early. If you see something growing on your skin that just doesn’t heal, if it grows rapidly, if it changes in color or size, have it checked out,” said Chung.