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'Don't get complacent': winter sun can still be harmful to your skin

Last Updated Feb 10, 2018 at 9:51 am PDT

(iStock Photo)
Summary

A doctor says winter sunshine can still be harmful to your skin, and is urging you to protect yourself all year

Dr. Harvey Lui, a staff dermatologist with BC Cancer, says even a harmless day of skiing can have an impact on your skin

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Sunscreen is probably the last thing you think of packing for a winter outing, but it shouldn’t be.

“My recommendation is to look for a product that has an SPF, sun protection factor, of 60 or higher, because I think when you use a high sun protection factor product and you apply it to the skin, you’re going to get better protection and it’s going to be better for you in the long run,” explains Doctor Harvey Lui, who adds with the sun back in the forecast, now is no time to be complacent about protecting your skin from its harmful rays.

“It’s not the heat that causes the damage to the skin, it’s actually the rays of light,” Doctor Harvey Lui says.

That, he explains, is because those rays of light carry dangerous ultraviolet radiation. “You can’t see them, you actually can’t feel them, but there’s enough energy in those ultraviolet rays from the sun, that when direct sunlight reaches your skin, it can cause damage.”

Lui, who is a staff dermatologist with BC Cancer, says even a harmless day of skiing can have an impact.

“Anywhere that’s not covered by your clothing, your helmet, or whatever, you need to cover up and you need to protect with sun screen.”

The sun’s damaging effects know no season. “Regardless of the time of year, regardless of whether it feels hot or cold outside, if you’re getting direct sunlight on your skin, do your best to protect yourself.”