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Sunscreen Still Needed During the Winter

January 19. 2023

By Terri Russell

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - At the Nevada Center for Dermatology, there’s a sample of sensitive skin products designed to treat dry skin that comes on in the winter months here in Northern Nevada.

Dr. Cindy Lamerson says it’s a real thing.

“The forced heating and the lack of humidity in the air really dries the skin out,” says Dr. Lamerson MD, a board-certified Dermatologist. “It decreases your skin barrier.”

Lamerson says to bathe with a mild soap. It is all that’s needed in hard-to-reach areas, followed by some oil on the skin before you lightly dry off.

“Then when you get out of the shower, you put your moisturizer right on top of that that is a really good mechanism in order to trap the water into the skin and hydrate the skin and keep it hydrated,” says Dr. Lamerson. “And the oil. A little bit of moisturizer allows you not to desiccate and have that water come out of the skin. We call it transepithelial water loss.”

With snow on the ground, skiers and snowboarders can’t wait to get on the slopes. Dr. Lamerson says they may just forget to put sunscreen on their faces or other exposed areas.

That’s a mistake. The sun’s UV rays increase 5% for every 1000 feet above sea level. But that’s not all. 80% to 90% of those rays are reflected back to the face by the snow.

Even for those who wear sunscreen and protect their face, there is sometimes a tendency to remove some protection.

“When you are going downhill and it is harder to breathe, you pull it down and then you have that sun exposure,” says Dr. Lamerson says of balaclavas. “So, you have to make sure you wear sunscreen under those garments.”

Dr. Lamerson says that just as in the summer, be sure to reapply the sunscreen as it can wipe off or be absorbed by the skin.

And she says don’t forget lips. A lip balm with a high SPF will help protect them against sun exposure and ward off cold sores.

“Blistering sunburns can make the cold sores come out,” says Dr. Lamerson. “And it is not uncommon this time of year for cold sores to get activated.”

Research shows the more sun burns the greater the chance of developing melanoma. That’s the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Skiers and snowboarders aren’t the only ones who should be wearing sunscreen in the winter months, even snow shovelers need to apply sunscreen and apply it frequently.

View the article on KOLO News 8

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