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The effects of winter sunshine and winter temperatures are not to be taken lightly: especially since many people underestimate their impact on the skin. Their combined effects can damage the skin and sometimes lead to serious complications, such as skin diseases or even skin cancer.

Most people believe that sun exposure is most aggressive in the summer. However, winter not only dries out the skin, making it prone to itching and flaking, but the winter sun can also contribute to the onset of very serious skin diseases, such as skin cancer.

The few tips given below are worthwhile rules of thumb when it comes to protecting your skin from the winter sun and low temperatures, and also from exposing your skin to sudden temperature changes, especially between heated indoor spaces and the very cold outdoors.

Protecting your skin in winter: as easy as one two three

Following these rules and instructions will help to protect your skin from the dangers of winter and keep it in the best shape possible, so that it retains its radiance, youthfulness and healthy appearance.

1. First of all, remember to limit the temperature as well as the duration of your hot showers or baths, as hot water can dry out your skin. Then, after showering, gently blot your skin with a towel and apply a thick cream-based moisturizer.

2. As a general rule, it is also necessary to use a moisturizing cream applied to the entire body at least twice a day. Both on the face and hands – the most exposed parts of the skin – it is essential to reapply moisturising cream whenever itching is felt or cracks appear, due to dry skin.

3. Similarly, it is a good idea to always carry a non-greasy hand cream with you and to apply it systematically after each hand wash. It is also important not to neglect hydration from the inside either: drinking plenty of water, about 8 glasses of 25cl per day will keep your skin cells properly hydrated.

4. As far as the living environments are concerned, and with the same objective in mind, it is imperative to follow the following rules: use a humidifier in your home, and also ensure that you don’t stay too close to heaters, fireplaces and other dry heat sources for too long.

5. Outdoors, you must be equally vigilant: exposure of the skin to wind, snow and ice has a negative effect on the skin. Protect yourself by wearing appropriate clothing with gloves, hats, scarves and coats.

6. Once back inside, basic skin care continues: dry, chapped lips should be soothed and treated by applying balms containing shea or cocoa butter, aloe vera, vitamin E or dimethicone, which seals moisture into the skin, preventing it from evaporating too quickly.

Some more common sense rules

Contrary to popular belief, preventing skin cancer, the most common of all cancers, is a year-round activity. The higher you are in altitude, the greater the risk of sun-induced skin lesions. It is important to know that snow reflects up to 80% of the sun’s UV light, which means that our skin is often struck twice by the same rays.  In addition to the rules of common sense and protection mentioned above, it is of utmost importance to adopt the habits below, as the second part of the ‘must-do’ rules.

7. When skin is exposed to high altitude sun and snow, a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more should be applied generously and evenly to all skin in the sun, 30 minutes before going down the slopes.

8. Care should be taken not to forget the lips, ears, around the eyes and on the neck, under the chin, scalp and hands, which are often neglected because they are perceived as secondary skin areas to be protected. Don’t skimp on the dosage: the right amount of sunscreen application on the face should be at least the value of a teaspoon.

9. As much as possible, it is ideal to ski early in the morning and late afternoon, before 10am and after 4pm, to avoid the strongest sunshine and high levels of reverberation. Especially on the slopes, it is necessary to take sunscreen and travel lip balm with you, and do not forget to reapply the cream every two hours for optimal protection.  The moisturizing sunscreens used should ideally contain ingredients such as lanolin or glycerin. Be sure to reapply immediately after heavy perspiration as well, for example if it is hot in the middle of the day.

10. Finally, the last recommendations: your lip balm should also have a SPF 15 or higher, and your indispensable sunglasses should offer 99% UV protection.

Should you have any doubts or questions before going down the ski slopes, or if you notice any changes on the surface of your skin, do not hesitate to consult with a certified dermatologist near you. Skin care professionals are at your disposal and will be able to inform you and give you all the advice you need, whatever the condition of your skin.

The harmful effects of the winter season on unprotected skin should not be underestimated. Certified dermatologists and skin practitioners are at your side to help you keep your skin healthy, young and supple for as long as possible.