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How to Keep Your Skin Healthy in Winter

December 16, 2013

By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Chad Merrill

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Cheering on your favorite football team or hitting the ski slopes can be thrilling, but besides the cold temperatures, there is a danger with the prolonged exposure to the sun and wind. Here are a few ways to keep your skin healthy during those harsh winter days and nights.

Although the sun doesn`t give off as much heat in the winter, its UVA rays are still strong. To make matters worse, the sun`s reflection off fresh snow doubles the sun`s ultraviolet strength. Ultraviolet radiation also increases four percent for every 1,000 feet in elevation, so Denver residents be aware.

The best way to protect against the winter sun is to apply sunblock with an SPF of at least 30 to exposed skin. Broad spectrum face sunscreen has ingredients that deliver long-lasting protection against UVB and UVA rays.

Sensitive skin around your lips and eyes can quickly become dry in windy, cold weather. A gentle eye makeup remover should be used on the skin around your eyes. A lip balm with an SPF of 15 or higher is recommended to protect lips from dryness.

Dress in layers to not only keep warm in the winter but to lock in skin moisture. Be sure to wear a hat and scarf and if going outside for a prolonged period of time, apply a moisturizing sunscreen with lanolin or glycerin that is gentle on the skin. Although it keeps you warmer, wool tends to leave the skin itchy, so it`s best to first put on a soft fabric that wicks away moisture from your body like silk, thinsulate or fleece.

Outdoor enthusiasts should apply sunscreen 30 minutes before venturing into the elements. Since fresh snow reflects up to 90 percent of incoming solar radiation and ice reflects up to 50 percent, skiers, snowboarders, ice skaters and ice fishermen should consider wearing sunglasses or goggles to protect eyes from the brightness.

Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours and immediately after heavy sweating. Don`t forget the often missed spots like ears, underside of the chin, scalp and hands. For skiers and snowboarders, keep lips healthy by reapplying lip balm on the chairlift after a long, snow-blown run.

Following these simple steps will protect your skin during the coldest and snowiest months of the year.

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Story Image: Two women enjoy the winter weather. (Wikicommons)

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