Higher altitude means an increased risk of sun-induced skin damage since UV radiation exposure increases 4 to 5 per cent with every 1,000 feet above sea level. So for example, if you ski on the glacier at Tignes at a lofty 3,450m (or 11,300 feet) the UV exposure will be up to 50 per cent higher than at sea-level.
So to help you stay protected, here are Melanoma UK’s top skin care tips to ensure you look after your skin and enjoy your skiing this winter:
1. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 50, or higher if you can get it. Apply 30 minutes before heading off for the slopes. Remember that the sun’s reflection off the snow can also be extremely strong on cloudy days (up to 80 percent of the sun’s rays can penetrate clouds) so always wear sunscreen, whatever the weather.
2. Apply sunscreen liberally and evenly to all exposed skin - many skiers and snowboarders do not use enough.
3. Be sure to cover often-missed spots: ears, around the eyes, back of the neck, the underside of chin and nose (at particular risk if you’re ski touring), scalp and hands. Use a good lip screen: many people rely on lip balms and forget to get a good quality lip screen.
4. Don't forget to put sunscreen on your arms. Sitting at lunch in the sun is great, but forgetting to put suncream on can expose your arms to an hour or more’s strong sunshine in the middle of the day.
5. Reapply every two hours, and always after heavy sweating. This is especially important in the warmth of spring or when you’ve been wearing a helmet and goggles.
6. Make sure you protect your eyes. Sunglasses and goggles that give 99% UV protection and have wrap around frames will offer good protection for your eyes, eyelids and the very sensitive skin around your eyes.
7. UVB rays are generally strongest at midday, so take extra precaution between 10am - 4pm by re-applying your sunscreen regularly and drinking plenty of water.
For more information head to the Melanoma UK website and remember to pack suncream with an SPF of 50 in your ski bag this winter. Keep an eye on Melanoma UK's latest information, advice and events on Facebook and Twitter.