Every parent knows that sunscreen is a must on sunny summer days, but how sun smart is your family during the winter? The truth is, sun protection can be just as important during the winter, especially if you’re taking part in outdoor activities like tobogganing, skiing and snowboarding. That’s because fresh white snow reflects up to 88 per cent of the sun’s UV rays, almost doubling a person’s UV exposure.
Plus, UV rays are stronger at higher altitudes—you’re likely getting just as much sun exposure spending the day on the mountain as you are laying on a hot beach. Even if it’s not a sunny day, you should still apply sunscreen as UV rays can get through clouds, fog and haze. It’s important to take sun protection measures, all year round, to guard against skin cancer and premature aging of the skin.
“Melanoma can affect anyone regardless of gender, age or race and it’s the seventh most diagnosed cancer in Canada,” says Annette Cyr, Founder and Chair of the Board of Directors for Melanoma Network of Canada. “A blistering sunburn before the age of 20 increases the risk of developing melanoma later in life. Sunscreen remains critical to our skin health, and it’s important that people everywhere continue to take sun protection measures seriously; including daily use of sunscreen regardless of the time of year.”
Melanoma is one of the most common types of cancer for Canadians ages 15 to 49, and most cases are caused by excessive sun exposure. Even one severe childhood sunburn raises the risk for skin cancer so it’s vital to teach our kids healthy sun protection habits from an early age. Wearing hats, sunglasses and sun-protective clothing help keep the rays at bay as does the daily use of sunscreen. How and when we apply sunscreen matters, too. Proper application involves:
- applying liberally 15 minutes before sun exposure,
- reapplying, at least,every two hours.
If you’re worried that sunscreen may prevent your kids from getting enough vitamin D, don’t. Studies show that sunscreen usage does not lead to vitamin D deficiency. On days when UV levels are moderate to high, most people get enough vitamin D through normal activity, even with sun protection. And that’s not counting the vitamin D you also get from a healthy diet that includes foods naturally rich in vitamin D like milk, fatty fish and cheese.
It’s important to note that a tan is still a sign of sun damage and does not protect you from further sun damage. The idea of getting a base tan as sun protection doesn’t actually work. Any change in the skin from sun exposure indicates UV radiation damage and increases your risk of premature aging and cancer.
Ultimately, making sun protection part of your daily routine is the best way to keep you and your family safe, no matter the season.
For effective sun protection and skincare benefits, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch sunscreen offers formulas that feel clean and light on your face and body. Dry-Touch Technology goes on easily and absorbs quickly, leaving skin feeling soft and fresh—with a shine-free and matte finish.
Water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and PABA-free, these go-to sunscreens offer broad-spectrum protection from aging UVA and burning UVB rays. Available in SPF 30, 45 and 60, they’re lightweight and non-greasy. For extra value, SPF 30 and 45 formulations are now available in large sizes.
Stay in touch
Subscribe to Today's Parent's daily newsletter for our best parenting news, tips, essays and recipes.