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Winter Sun Warrants Sunscreen
Date:2/3/2010

an assistant professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and a dermatologist in Washington, D.C.

Think like you would at the beach, she said, even if the temperature is below zero. Use sunscreen of at least an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30, and reapply it every two or three hours.

The lips need protection, too, Armstrong said, so try lip balms with SPF.

And wearing sunglasses can not only help prevent cataracts, Kauvar said, but also help prevent skin cancers around the eyelids. Such cancers, she said, are not uncommon.

Rules for sunscreen use in the winter are pretty similar to those for summer, Armstrong said. Wear sunscreen daily, reapply often and opt for cream-based products over lotions because they're thicker. Extra applications might be needed if you're skiing intensely and sweating.

And be sure the selected sunscreens offer protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Kauvar said she tells people to look for physical-blocker sunscreens, which have zinc oxide. Physical blockers reflect or scatter the UV rays rather than absorbing them.

For people who aren't participating in outdoor sports, Kauvar said, it's probably reasonable to wear a moisturizer with sunscreen. But be sure the SPF is at least 30, she said.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on skin cancer prevention.



SOURCES: Arielle Kauvar, M.D., clinical associate professor, dermatology, New York University School of Medicine, New York City; April W. Armstrong, M.D., dermatologist and assistant clinical professor, University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, Sacramento, Calif.; Elizabeth L. Tanzi, M.D., co-director, laser surgery, Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, and assistant professor, dermatol
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