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Sun Protection for Winter Travel: myths, facts, and hacks

Sun Protection for Winter Travel: myths, facts, and hacks

As you escape winter gloom for warm, sandy beaches in Tulum or the slopes in Vail, safeguarding your PNW skin after months of cloud cover is crucial for maintaining skin health. In this guide, we’ll debunk common myths, reveal important facts and share our favorite hacks to keep your skin safe during winter travel. 


1. Getting a base tan will prevent sunburn. 

Reality: There is no such thing as a safe tan. Any tan is a sign of skin damage, and is the skin’s mechanism of protecting itself. On average, a base tan offers an SPF of 3. Skip the tanning beds and go for a reef safe SPF 30+.  

2. Darker skin tones don’t need sunscreen. 

Reality: While individuals with darker skin tones have more melanin, which offers some natural protection against UV radiation, they are still at risk of skin cancer and sun damage that can surface a dark spots later. Sunscreen is essential for everyone, regardless of skin tone.

3. Sunscreen is the only protection you need. 

Reality: While sunscreen is an integral part of sun protection, it is not the sole solution. Wearing protective clothing, seeking shade and using accessories like hats and sunglasses are equally important for comprehensive sun protection. 


UV Radiation intensity increases with altitude.

When traveling to higher altitudes, while hitting the slopes or for a cozy cabin getaway, UV radiation becomes stronger with increasing altitude. The thinner the atmosphere at higher elevations allows more UV rays to penetrate, putting you at higher risk of sunburn and skin damage. 

Sand, water and snow reflect sunlight.

This can increase the amount of UV radiation your skin is exposed to. Even when you’re not directly exposed to the sun, like under an umbrella, you can still get burnt.  

You can get sunburnt under the water.

UV radiation can penetrate the water surface, making it possible to get sunburnt while relaxing in the water. Water-resistant sunscreen is essential for adequate protection.  


Don’t forget the lips!

With our Dermal Imaging machine, we see a lot of sun damage in the lips. Sun exposure can break down collagen and cause pigmentation that can surface years later. Protect the lips with an SPF daily.  

Watch out for citrus oils. 

Drinking mojitos on the beach, or doing a shot + lime before a ski sesh can increase photosensitivity. The combination of citrus oils and sun can create a chemical burn on the lips, hands and skin. Be cautious and keep reapplying your SPF lip balm. 

Reapplication is KEY. 

Sunscreen gets broken up throughout the day, especially with sweating, swimming, and toweling off. Reapply your sunscreen every two hours, or more frequently if you’re active or exposed to water. 

Big sunglasses can help prevent hyperpigmentation.

Eye protection (polarized or UV sunnies) will not only shield the delicate skin around the eyes, but research indicates that UV radiation entering the eyes can trigger melanocytes in the skin, potentially exacerbating hyperpigmentation and melasma.

Book a facial for when you get home.

Sun, wind, plane puff and other environmental stressors can reak havoc on your skin and it’s barrier. Your aesthetician will help to rejuvenate, replenish and depuff the skin after your much needed travel. 


Need to schedule your next appointment? Book here or call us at (253) 260-6842.