Sunblock Reminder: Cooler Temps Don’t Mean Less UV

12 Dec Sunblock Reminder: Cooler Temps Don’t Mean Less UV

As the winter months roll on, we tend to think less about UV protection than we do in the summer. We store away the sunscreen in the back of the medicine cabinet and think that going out on a cloudy or wintery day won’t do any harm to our skin. Unfortunately, damaging UV rays find a way to our skin through rain, hail, sleet and snow just as easily as it finds you on a day at the beach.

Any seasoned skier or snowboarder can tell you how unprotected skin can lead to painful repercussions. A fine day of winter sports without sunscreen, even with goggles, hats, helmets and gloves can still result in a painful sunburn and seriously embarrassing raccoon like tan lines. Keep in mind that UV Radiation can sometimes be worse in high altitudes and cloudy, wet or snowy conditions.

Sunscreen is not simply a vanity cure, overexposure to UV rays is serious risk to your health and is directly linked to skin cancer which, if left untreated can spread to other areas of your body and be potentially fatal. Fortunately, skin cancer is easily preventable if you take the appropriate precautions.

While summer is the prime time for sun protection, UV damage can occur in cooler winter months just as easily as on warm, sunny days. UV radiation actively affects exposed skin through clouds, haze and reflections from water and snow.  UV exposure can be even worse at high altitudes, creating a sunburn risk for winter sports like skiing or snowboarding.

Specialists for skin cancer treatments in Long Beach and the rest of the country recommend wearing sunscreen every day, no matter the weather, as a way to help protect against UV exposure. Sunscreen is specially designed to absorb, reflect and scatter sunlight and protect the skin. Using sunscreen every day in combination with protective clothing and sunglasses will greatly reduce your skin’s exposure to UV rays.

Melanoma is one of the most common forms of skin cancer, and it is identified by changes in size, shape and colors of moles, birthmarks or other skin growths. Skin cancer is attributed to a combination of environmental, genetic and habitual factors but is commonly linked with prolonged sun exposure to UV rays. Affected skin can become dark and leathery, losing elasticity. Mole removal may be necessary as changes occur such as thickening, bleeding, swelling, irritation that can be signs of cancer.

In addition to mole removal, common skin cancer treatments in Long Beach include:

  • Surgical excision, which is the surgical removal of the affected skin
  • Mohs micrographic surgery- a common procedure for patients with a risk of recurrence
  • Advanced skin cancer has potential to spread to the lymph nodes and may require more aggressive treatments, including radiation or chemotherapy.

While the consequences of untreated and badly damaged skin can be painful and potentially catastrophic, the preventative treatments are easily obtainable. In addition to traditional sunscreen, look for products such as daily moisturizers, lip-balm, lipstick and hand lotion with an SPF of 15 or higher. This winter, keep in mind that a little preventative care goes a long way to maintain your health and wellbeing.

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