Snowy slopes or sandy beaches, every spring break trip needs sunscreen

KKTV 11 News this Morning
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 8:45 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Whether you’re spending spring break lounging beachside or skiing down a snow capped mountain, you’re going to want to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.

“Solar radiation is ultraviolet radiation that comes from the sun. Solar radiation is what will cause damage to the DNA of our skin cells and that’s why dermatologists are so focused on protecting the cells of your skin,” explained Dr. Renata Prado, a Board Certified Dermatologist at Vanguard Skin Specialist in Colorado Springs.

If hitting the slopes is part of your spring break plans, remember you’re not safe from the effects of the sun, rather the opposite.

The higher you climb in altitude, the less atmosphere UV rays need to travel to get to you, thus intensifying the dangerous effect.

Make sure you are prioritizing sunscreen SPF 30 or higher and reapplying it every 2 hours to parts of your body exposed to the sun like your face, ears, and neck.

“For skiers, I personally love to always bring in my pocket a stick sunscreen because it’s easy, they come in pretty small sizes now a days  and you can just have it in your pocket,” said Prado.

The same sunscreen rules apply if your packing for a sandy trip versus snowy.

Reapply every 2 hours and if you’re swimming, look for a water resistant brand.

“You can find that in the labels. Something that’s either called ‘water resistant’ which protects your skin for about 40 minutes in water, and a ‘very water resistant’ which stays effective in the water for about 80 minutes,” said Prado.

While it’s common for vacationers is to build up a base tan before taking off for the beach, Prado advises against it.

Anytime you have a bronzed tan, that’s actually the effect of previous cellular damage to your skin.

“So, to get a tan, first your body has some DNA damage done to the skin cells and the tanning color is a response to that damage,” explained Prado.

So whether you’re spring break is in the mountains or at the beach, make sure sunscreen is part of your everyday routine and look at alternative ways to get a bronze color to your skin.

“First of all, we recommend no tanning, but if you do want to have a tan color, there are safer ways to do it. So, there are bronzers, self tanners, spray tans. These work by changing the color of the very surface layer of your skin and therefore considered safer for your skin,” said Prado.