You may have stashed your swimsuit, but keep sunscreen in rotation year-round.
“The winter season can pose even greater dangers when it comes to skin cancer,” says Eric Dong, MD, Associate Director of Surgical Oncology at MidHudson Regional Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) in Poughkeepsie. “Even in the winter, UVA light levels do not decrease – and the majority of skin damage, aging and wrinkling comes from UVA.”
Skiers also should take caution, he says. Every thousand-foot increase in altitude brings a 4 percent increase in the sun’s intensity. “Snowy slopes can reflect the sun even more intensely than the beach,” Dr. Dong says. He notes that men are three times more likely than women to develop skin cancer; plus, men tend to develop melanoma, the more fatal form.
Women, instead, tend to develop less dangerous forms, such as basal-cell and squamous-cell cancers. “Everyone should absolutely wear a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 on areas exposed to the winter sun, especially those with fairer skin,” he recommends.
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