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Winter Sun Skin Damage

Freckles in winter
Freckles in winter
Freckles are clusters of concentrated melanin which are most often visible on people with a fair complexion. A freckle is also called an ephelis. Freckles do not have an increased number of melanin producing cells (melanocytes). This is in contrast to lentigines and moles. | Photo: | Freckles, Winter, Scarf, Skin, Face, Sexy, Sun, Damage, Melanin, Complexion,

The chilly solar rays can still hurt your skin, permanently.

The winter season is in full swing and when you are preparing yourself to head out for a winter's day, you are most likely to focus on wearing your warm coat, mittens, hat, scarf and waterproof boots. Those are the items you usually associate with winter weather because they protect you from the cold, but what about protecting your skin from the sun? Even though the temperatures have dropped and you can't feel the heat of the sun as much as you did during the summer, the UV rays are still very strong and can harm your skin just the same as they would in the warmer months. Your head and neck are exposed to the elements all year long, which explains why those areas are where the majority of skin cancers appear. It seems the most common skin concerns during winter are chapped lips, dry hands, frostbite and windburn, but sunburn should be included in that list as well.

I, myself, always have to be mindful of the sun, due to my freckles, so I'm usually very aware of the effects it has on my skin year round. My grandfather and mother, who have a very similar skin type to me, make regular visits to the dermatologist to have cancerous spots removed. I know this is a glimpse into my future if I don't care for my skin properly now, so I try to do as much as possible to protect myself from the harmful effects of the sun. Even if you don't have freckles, you should still be mindful of other skin conditions that may lead to possible skin problems in the future, such as brown spots, moles that are raised or change in shape/size, red spots or broken blood vessels. All of these are signs of sun damage and could possibly lead to scares down the road.

Skin care
Skin care

Skin is the soft outer covering of vertebrates. Other animal coverings such as the arthropod exoskeleton have different developmental origin, structure and chemical composition. The adjective cutaneous means "of the skin" (from Latin cutis, skin). In mammals, the skin is the largest organ of the integumentary system. | Photo: |
Though it may seem unnecessary to some, you do need to protect your skin from the sun all year long. Most people will focus on simply moisturizing during the cold months, but there are easy ways to protect your skin from the sun during the winter as well. In the summer, we're told to avoid being in the sun for extended periods between 10 am and 4 pm because the sun's rays are the strongest, so you should try and spend the most time outdoors in the winter before 10 am and after 4 pm as well. If you're an avid skier, snowboarder or other winter activity participant, it's important to keep in mind how much time you're spending in the sun and consider the times when the sun is most dangerous. Not only is the sun a concern for outdoor sport enthusiasts during the winter, but the snow also adds to the problem, as the sun's rays are reflected off the snow, creating another way of harming your skin.

If you are going to be outside for more than 15 minutes during the winter months, you should also include a sunscreen in your daily routine. Even though the stores usually put away their sunscreen or downsize for the cooler months, it's still important to protect your skin from the sun when the weather gets cold. Be sure to choose a sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays (broad spectrum) and apply it to your skin at least 30 minutes before going out into the sun. If it's going to be an all day event, be sure to reapply your sunscreen every few hours, to ensure you skin remains safe from the harsh rays of the sun. One of the easiest ways to ensure you are protecting your skin everyday is to purchase a daily moisturizer with SPF 30 in it that you include in your daily routine (and repeat when necessary).

When applying sunscreen or SPF moisturizer, be sure to lather it on to the most sensitive areas of your skin as well, that are exposed every day to the sun. You are always reminded to wash behind your ears and in your belly button when showering, and there are parts of the body often forgotten when applying sunscreen as well. Ensure you cover up your ears, nose, under your chin, your eyebrows, around the eyes and include an SPF 15+ lip balm as well.

Mini Anden
Mini Anden

Susanna "Mini" Andén, born June 7, 1978, is a Swedish model, actress, occasional host, and producer. She was born in Stockholm and began modeling at the age of ten, joining Elite Model Management when she was fifteen. | Photo: Stipko Media | Mini Anden, Model, Sweden, Actress, Host, Producer, Sexy, Freckles, Beach, Chair,

Your lips are a very sensitive part of your body and known to contract skin cancer, just like any other part of your face. Your lower lip obviously receives more sunlight, so be sure to protect it, as the second most common form of skin cancer will often appear on your lips. Instead of using a non-SPF lipstick, opt for a balm or gloss that will keep those UV rays from harming your lips, while keeping them moist and kissable all day long.

In addition to harming your skin, remember the sun can be harmful to your eyes as well. Sunglasses should be year round accessories, so don't forget to take them with you when you're planning on being outside during the winter as well. The UV radiation from the sun can lead to many vision problems later in life, so go out and buy a pair of 99% or more UV protectant sunglasses to include in your daily wardrobe all year long.

Though it may be difficult to incorporate sunscreen and UV protection into your daily routine 365 days a year, your skin will thank you in the end. Summer, Autumn, Spring or Winter'no matter what the season, be sure to lather up before heading outside for some fun in the sun. Unlike other creatures, we cannot shed our skin ' we are given this skin for life and expected to look after it, so be sure you do your part. There are some great products out there which will make this become second nature in your everyday, so good luck with your quest to keeping your skin safe from those harmful UV rays'even on those cold, winter days!

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Updated Aug 12, 2017 1:49 PM EDT | More details

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