During winter, the farthest thing from your mind is sun protection—we get it.
Why would you need to protect yourself from the sun when it's not even warm, let alone hot enough to burn you? Unfortunately, this isn't the case. Just because the temperature drops doesn't mean you're in the clear.
The sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can reach through cloud cover, rain, and even snow. That means when you're taking part in winter outdoor activities, you need clothing that can protect you from those harmful rays.
If you'd rather hit the slopes than hit the kitchen for some hot cocoa, then you need to be even more cautious. Thankfully, there are plenty of options for UV protective clothing. Here are a few reasons you still need to protect yourself from the sun in the chilly winter months and how you can do it stylishly.
UVA vs. UVB Rays
First, to understand why they're so harmful, we'll break down the difference between UVA and UVB rays.
UV stands for ultraviolet, which you probably knew. But the A and the B are what distinguishes these sunrays apart. While both reach Earth and can easily penetrate our skin, UVB rays are more aggressive and cause visible signs of sun damage, like a nasty sunburn.
UVA rays are more inconspicuous but just as dangerous. They penetrate deep within your skin, causing wrinkles and premature aging. Not to mention, there are about 500 times more of these than UVB rays.
And unfortunately, both are known to cause skin cancer, otherwise known as melanoma. Because of this, there are different threats you have to watch out for in the winter months, including reflectivity and altitude.
You're looking up at a mountain, heaps of snow surrounding you, and the last thing on your mind is the sun because it's quite literally freezing outside. However, the sun hasn't forgotten about you. While you're outdoors enjoying the chilly air, the sun is doubling up on the UV power.
Wintery surfaces like snow and ice can reflect the same UVA and UVB rays that you experience during the summer. Except for this time, they're here twice fold. On a clear day, when the sun is out in full force, snow and ice can reflect up to 80 to 90% of the rays that enter the atmosphere.
When you look at it this way, you're not only getting hit with the sun's rays once but twice. That means twice the chance of experiencing premature aging, twice the chance of getting a sunburn, and twice the risk of skin cancer.
The sun's rays are constant and unrelenting. They know nothing of seasons or the cold weather. UVA rays specifically remain at full-force and even penetrate through clouds and fog. That means even on a cloudy day; you're at risk.
When you're looking down that mountain ready to get your ski on, it's not just the reflective snow you have to worry about. At higher altitudes, the sun is more likely to cause skin damage. This damage is heightened by thinner air at increased altitudes.
What do we mean by thinner air? The air at higher altitudes has less atmospheric pressure, which causes a decrease in the percentage of oxygen available. It also means that the sun's rays can permeate your skin more easily.
While our atmosphere absorbs the majority of harmful sun rays, some of it still slips by. What's left are UVA and some UVB rays. These get absorbed by the atmosphere closer to Earth, but the higher altitude you're located, the less of it gets absorbed for you.
These rays' intensity increases at about 10-12% more for every 0.62 miles as you ascend vertically. So, in higher altitudes, these rays are more prevalent and can cause more skin damage for those who skip out on sun protection.
Your first line of defense from the sun is clothing. By covering up with UV protective clothing, you eliminate the risk of harsh UV rays reaching your skin. BloqUV's instant sun protection offers 50+ UPF sun protection that never washes out or fades away.
Not only is sun protective clothing often extremely comfortable, but it's lightweight and multi-purposeful. You can wear the same long sleeve you use as a rash guard in the summer underneath your winter jacket in the winter!
BloqUV has everything from leggings to long-sleeve tees to help protect you from the sun this winter. Our clothes are also quick to dry and moisture-wicking, preventing sweat-buildup that can make you even colder during outdoor fitness activities and winter sports.
Bloq UV also makes stylish accessories that will spruce up any outdoor attire. With masks, bandanas, and more to choose from, you can protect yourself from head to toe!
When you can't cover up certain places with UV protective clothing, make sure always to apply sunscreen! Areas like your face, neck, and hands are often exposed even in the winter, so be sure not to forget about them! Professionals recommend that you use a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF to protect your skin from the sun.
And of course, reapply as stated on your products. It may also help to find a sunscreen with moisturizing ingredients as the cold winter weather can do a number on your skin, especially where it's exposed. Applying sunscreen can also help prevent windburn when you're facing abrasive wind and cold air.
Believe it or not, UVA rays can even reach you through windows and glass, meaning you need protection all day long. So slap on a good amount of sunscreen to start your morning, and the sun's got nothing on you!
Protect Yourself During Winter Outdoor Activities
Protecting yourself from the sun's harsh rays comes at a benefit to you and your skin! Not only do you get to sport stylish UV protective clothing during winter outdoor activities, but you know you're protecting yourself from harsh ultraviolet rays.
Protecting yourself doesn't have to be complicated. A bit of sunscreen and your BloqUV gear will have you ready to hit the slopes again in no time! For more tips on sun protection and outdoor attire, check out our blog for more!