Here at FIT we love winter sports but in all the excitement of flying down a mountain at 50mph, most of us tend to forget about protecting our skin.
Late on in the season (late February - March) is when the mountain weather really starts to heat up. The danger of winter sun is much greater than you may anticipate. Skin cancer experts warn it is far easier to damage your skin while skiing than from lying on a beach. And that damage could lead to wrinkles, fine lines and continued exposure increases the chances of developing cancer.
What causes winter sun to be so dangerous? Skiers and snowboaders are far more at risk from sun damage for two reasons. Firstly, the atmospheric protection from sunlight decreases the higher the altitude. Studies have shown that for approximately every 1000 feet we are above sea level the atmosphere filters out 4% less sunlight. That may seem like a fairly small number but when most resorts start at around 5000 feet then you are already 20% more exposed before you have even started skiing!
Secondly, the sheer whiteness of the snow acts like a mirror to the sun rays and reflects it back up from the ground. It is estimated that 85% of the sun's rays are reflected back from the snow which means we are exposed in irregular places such as under the nose and chin, so bare this in mind when applying protection.
For complete protection against the winter sun, you should wear a sun cream of at least factor 50. After skiing we recommend a sauna session to open up those wind burned pores, followed by a warm shower (not piping hot) and a moisturising skin serum applied immediately after showing and again before bed. This routine will ensure your skin has time to recover over night and build a natural level of protection before the next day of winter fun.