Beauty: Skincare for skiers and snow-lovers

Skiers, beware the power of the sun and arm yourself with SPF, says the British Skin Foundation. Stephanie Smith finds out more.

It’s the season for winter ski holidays and so skin experts are warning both novices and experts not to forget to pack sunscreen.

Skin can burn on the slopes, leaving embarrassing “panda eyes” and a sore red face. The British Skin Foundation (BSF) reports that the amount of UV rays that reach the earth’s surface increases by up to five per cent for every 1,000 feet above sea level, while both ice and water are effective reflectors of UV radiation.

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It advises that exposed areas, such as the hands, face and head, need a sunscreen of at least SPF30 – and that we should look for one with a high level of UVA protection.

Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist and BSF spokesman, said: “It’s all too easy to forget about skincare when you’re covered from head to toe, but at altitude, the risk of sunburn remains high. It’s vital to adequately protect exposed sites with high factor broad spectrum SPF and remember to reapply frequently.”

The charity, which raises funds for skin disease and skin cancer research, says that sunscreen should be applied as frequently as its is in summer to all exposed areas, not forgetting ears, lips and back of the neck.

Last week, our article on winter skin and vitamin D (Beauty, October 18) wrongly quoted the British Skin Foundation as advising it recommends 20 minutes of sun exposure a day. This was incorrect and not provided by the BSF.

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Dr Anjali Mahto explained: “While sun exposure is the main source of vitamin D, this needs to be balanced against the fact that sun exposure is also the main cause of skin cancer. There is a unified view that the time to make vitamin D is short, and less than the amount of time needed for skin to become red and subsequently burn.

“UK dermatologists recommend that regularly going outside for a few minutes around the middle of the day without sunscreen should be enough.”

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