Skin Damage Myths for the Cold


Respect and pray on the sunset in city background

As fall begins, many people’s concern about sunburn disappears. The Earth’s Northern Hemisphere begins moving away from the sun, and the atmosphere obstructs part of the sun’s harmful UV rays. Temperatures drop as the sun’s rays struggle to reach us.

However, don’t let these seasonal variations fool you. You’re still at risk of skin damage.

Myth #1: I’m safe inside

When considering sun direct exposure, you might imagine yourself at the beach or working out outside. But many Americans get a big portion of their exposure to UV rays when they don’t even imagine it–in their cars or while at work.

UV rays from the sun, related to about 90 percent of all skin cancers, reaches the earth as long-wavelength UVA and shortwave UVB rays. Glass completely blocks UVB, and windshields are specifically treated to block UVA also, however an automobile’s side and rear windows aren’t and neither are commercial windows.

UV damage is cumulative, and research has actually proven that skin being exposed to sunlight through workplace window glass can lead to a lot of skin damage over time.

Myth #2: I’m only at risk when the sun is strong

Cold weather can increase the negative effects of direct UV exposure through numerous ways. Initially, snow shows as much as 80 percent of UV radiation. The result is that the very same sun rays can strike you two times. Second, snow, cold and strong winds can wear out your sun block’s coverage.

Notice: In high elevations, UV radiation is a lot more intense. Plus, the thinner atmosphere does less to deflect the same number of the sun’s hazardous rays. This makes winter professional athletes, primarily skiers and snowboarders, particularly susceptible to sun damage because they spend so much time at high elevations where the UV exposure can be vastly more harmful than even at the beach. This is due to the fact that UV exposure increases 4 to 5 percent with every 1,000 feet above sea level.

Myth #3: Cloud cover will safeguard me

As much as 80% of UV rays can go through clouds. Do not let a cloudy day trick you into forgetting your sunscreen. Even through the clouds, UV radiation reaches the Earth’s surface and your skin. Some scientific studies even find that clouds can enhance UV radiation. The sun’s beams bounce off the sides of clouds causing radiation to be more concentrated and harmful.

So don’t leave your skin out to fry. Protect it even if you cannot see the sun.


Skin cancer is severe. It is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans will suffer from skin cancer at least once in their lifetimes and 1.3 million new cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer will be identified this year, in accordance with the American Cancer Society. One in every 62 Americans will suffer from skin cancer and about 9,000 are forecasted to pass away from the illness.

Most forms, more than 90 percent, of skin cancer is triggered by exposure to UV rays. Deaths from skin cancer are largely preventable if we secure ourselves from the sun all year round. As noted here, easy and useful preventative actions can go a long method towards reducing the potential damage to the skin from the sun no matter the time of year.

October 12, 2016 |

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