When you think of sun protective clothing, do you start to daydream about a Caribbean vacation, surfing in the blazing sun and spending more time outdoors?
Sun protective clothing isn’t only for hot summer days or spending time at the beach.
This many surprise you, or you may think we’re just crazy. We’re not. Here’s why:
1. UVA light is emitted from fluorescent bulbs. Most people think that because they spend the majority of the winter inside an office, they don’t need sun protection. However, fluorescent bulbs that contain mercury emit UVA light. Black beach pants are sleek enough to wear to the office, and swim leggings can protect you from the UV light at the gym. Both provide 50+ UV protection.
2. Your face is still exposed to the sun. UVA rays are just as strong in winter as in summer. Moreover, UVA rays penetrate glass. That means that while you’re driving around on a cold winter day, your face is still exposed to harmful rays that cause premature aging and skin cancer. Make sure that your moisturizer or foundation contains sunscreen, and apply it daily.
3. The ozone layer is thinner in the winter. The ozone layer absorbs some of the sun’s damaging rays. During the winter, the ozone layer is thinner than during the summer. If you’re spending any time outdoors in the winter, your exposed skin is actually more susceptible to burning.
4. UV rays can hit you twice. Snow and ice reflect UV rays. If you’re heading outdoors on a sunny snow day, you’ll likely relish the warm sun on your face. However, you’ll also get a dose of UV rays as they’re reflected off the snow. That double dose of sunshine can increase your risk of skin cancer. Winter hats don’t have wide brims to protect you from the sun. On warmer winter days, trade in your toboggan for a beach hat and protect your face from the sun.
5. Sun exposure increases as you head up the mountain. If you’re a skier, you’ll increase your exposure to UV radiation at higher elevations. When you’re all sweaty after a great run and you take off your jacket, your cotton shirt protects you with only an SPF of about seven. Wear a rashguard if natural sunscreen protection is important to you. It will keep you warm under a jacket and provide 50+ UV protection at the same time.
Photo: St. Regis Aspen Resort