Dr. Raman Madan, a dermatologist with Northwell Health in Huntington, writes about the need to take care of your skin in the winter.
We are still a few months away from the peak summer season, when Long Islanders come out
of hibernation to play in the water, on the golf course or local ball field.
The summer fun, I would hope, includes wearing sunscreen to protect skin from harmful
summer rays. It’s a tradition we should participate in year-round. Yes, even in winter, sunscreen
helps prevent skin cancer, but most people turn away from the preventative measure when the
sun isn’t making them sweat or burn.
The sun’s Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays are what lead to summer sunburns, and those rays can cause
damage in the winter too. That’s especially the case when they reflect off snow, ice or other
bright surfaces. The reflection of snow can be dangerous for those at risk for skin cancer, and
while we haven’t seen any measurable snow this winter, anyone going to a ski resort or a
vacation to an area with accumulating snow should take note – and take sunscreen with them.
While the rays aren’t as harmful earlier or later in the day, the sun’s Ultraviolet B rays can still
be damaging midday, especially from late morning to early afternoon.
There are other ways to protect skin – a human body’s largest organ – during the colder months
we are currently enduring. For example, moisturizing creams make a difference when the air is
dry, as it generally is in the winter months. Many home heating systems are also pushing out
dry air, which can lead to cracking. Your skin can become quite irritable.
It’s also worth noting that hot showers can dry your skin largely because it removes oils that
help keep your skin healthy.
Also, use a humidifier. It’s not only good for your skin, but it will also help your sinuses get
through the cruel winter months.
Finally, while it’s not top of mind for many people, the next few months are as good a time as
any to have that annual screening you’ve been putting off. During winter months, we are
wearing more layers, and you – or someone else – might not quickly notice something
Before we know it, warmer weather will be back and everyone will be buying sunscreen and
thinking about skin safety. Why not start now?
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