In the frostier parts of the world, people limit their time outside during the winter season. People often spend the whole day outside at the beach, an amusement park or a national park during the warmer months, but stay cooped up once temperatures plummet. That’s why many people might not realize that you can still get sunburned during the winter — and the burn could actually be worse than during the summer.
If you’re planning a skiing or snowboarding vacation this winter, one of the essentials you should pack is sunscreen. If you’re out on the mountain all day, any exposed skin is still being blasted with UV Rays. That includes your lips, which can also get dry, chapped and burned without a chapstick with SPF.
Snow, ice and altitude can also amplify sun damage. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, UVB rays, the ones that cause burns, are stronger at higher altitudes. Ice and snow also reflect up the UV rays that reach the ground, meaning you’re being hit with rays not only from above but from all around you on the mountain, getting double the exposure. Even if the sun isn’t bright, 80% of UV rays burn right through the clouds.
On top of protecting your skin from this surprising winter hazard, you’ll also need to protect your eyes. Skiers and snowboarders should wear sunglasses or goggles to reduce glare that reduces visibility and to protect their eyes from sun damage. You can actually get burns on your corneas from the bright rays reflected off of snow, which is also known as “snowblindness.” The sun can also damage the delicate skin around your eyes and cause vision loss.
Making sure to protect your eyes on the slopes is just one important tip for skiing and snowboarding beginners.