The Ultimate Guide to Using Sunscreen in the Snow

The Ultimate Guide to Using Sunscreen in the Snow

This article is addressing the question of whether or not sunscreen should be used while you are in the snow. If you are about to hit the slopes or just go outside to play in the snow, it’s important to protect your skin for a number of reasons. We’re going to explore all the reasons why and the benefits of using sunscreen while enjoying some snow activity.

The sun is even more intense in the snow.

Snow acts as a highly reflective surface, bouncing back up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays. This reflection intensifies the exposure to UV radiation, increasing your risk of sunburn and skin damage. 

The higher altitude increases the UV radiation. 

In most cases when you are skiing or snowboarding, you are likely to be at higher altitudes. With every elevation gain, UV radiation increases. Combine this with the reflective qualities of the snow, and you have amplified the risk of sun damage.

UV radiation is happening even on cloudy days.

It’s common for cloudy conditions to occur in the snow but this shouldn’t stop you from applying that layer of sunscreen. We’ve known for a long time now, cloudy days are just as damaging to the skin as sunny days. So whether it’s cloudy or sunny, apply that sunscreen before you hit the snow. 

I don’t need sunscreen because my face and hands are covered up while I’m in the snow. 

Yes this is likely, as you keep yourself warm. But as you play in the snow, you tend to get warm under the many layers of clothing you have on. This can lead to shedding some clothing especially around your face, as your need to catch your breath happens. Apply sunscreen before you layer up so you don’t find yourself exposed during the day when you may not have a tube of sunscreen nearby. And this will save you from the racoon effect we’ve all seen at the bar, apres ski…. 

Don’t forget the often overlooked areas like the lips, ears and back of the neck. 

Your lips are particularly susceptible to sunburn while in the snow. I’m sure you’ve experienced the dry, chapped lips that happen while you are outdoors during winter. And then you lick your lips constantly while you try and bring them some relief. 

Apply sunscreen to your kids before they go out to play in the snow.

Kids always are a challenge to get sunscreen on at the best of times. During winter this might be an even harder sell…but with their skin being so delicate and not often exposed to the winter conditions, it’s vitally important they wear sunscreen before they go out to build a snowman. So before you layer them up, put on a layer of sunscreen to protect their skin and keep it nourished while outside in the dry, cold conditions.

Don’t forget to take a tube with you and reapply.

It’s likely you won’t feel the sun’s damage like you do during summer. So the message to reapply may not be top of mind. But the same rules apply…which are to make sure you reapply! Have a break, drink a hot chocolate and put another layer of sunscreen on before your next session outdoors in the snow. This will also nourish your skin with moisture which as you have probably felt before, dries out very quickly in cold weather. 

 The Kind Sunscreen, great for protection but also a wonderful moisturiser. 

I hope you find this advice useful. 

When I was designing The Kind Sunscreen, I wasn’t just thinking of protection during summer. I’ve felt the damaging effects of the winter sun which is why I made sure this sunscreen is as good for the summer as it is for the winter. For this reason it’s full of nourishing ingredients like organic candelilla wax. This vegan wax not only helps create a barrier to protect from damaging UV rays but its moisturising properties help to hydrate the skin. And organic Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, protects, repairs and moisturises.