Safe and Natural Ways to Protect Yourself from the Sun in the Winter It might not cross your mind, but it’s important to protect your skin even in the wintertime! During these months, you can be exposed to harmful ultraviolet radiation, which is reflected from the snow. While sand reflects only 25 percent of UVA radiation, snow reflects 80 percent of harmful UVA radiation. The American Cancer Society notes that sunlight is the main source of UV rays. Skin becomes susceptible to cancer when unprotected by defenses like clothing, shade or sunscreen. Other effects of long-term exposure to the sun include wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity and early skin aging.

At the same time, many sunscreens contain toxic ingredients and can prevent you from getting any vitamin D—which is derived directly from safe exposure to the sun and is a critical component to health. So let’s discuss how you can protect yourself safely while avoiding toxic sunscreens.

Sunscreen-Less Ways to Avoid Overexposure

  • Many docs would recommend that sunscreen is your last resort when it comes to protecting yourself from the sun. The Skin Cancer Foundation offers a few tips aside from sunscreen to prevent overexposure to the sun’s UV radiation.
  • Wear a hat to keep your head warm and protect your scalp from radiation. A ski mask will limit the amount of skin exposed to the sun.
  • Plan outdoor winter activities for before 10am and after 4pm, when the sun’s UV rays are least intense.
  • Sunglasses and especially wrap-around frames offer the most UV protection for your eyes, eyelids and sensitive skin around your eyes.
Safe and Natural Ways to Protect Yourself from the Sun in the Winter

Using Sunscreen Safely

You may be surprised to discover that there are many toxins hidden in common skincare products—and sunscreen is one of them.

We highly recommend searching the Environmental Working Group’s sunscreen guide. Here you can search their database for sunscreens that provide proper protection while skipping dangerous and common ingredients like oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate. Head to www.ewg.org/sunscreen/ and once you’ve found a safe ‘screen, follow these tips:

  • Apply sunscreen even to the most hidden spots, like around the ears, eyes and neck, under the chin, scalp and hands.
  • Lips are sensitive, so wear an organic lip balm with an SPF 15 or higher.
  • Every two hours, reapply sunscreen. Apply more often and immediately after heavy sweating.
  • When you apply sunscreen, especially to the face, apply liberally. Apply at least a teaspoon to your face.
  • If you will be on the slopes all day, carry a travel size sunscreen bottle to reapply sunscreen as needed.
  • Wear sunscreen even on cloudy days, since up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate the clouds.