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Backpacker Magazine – January 2009

Danger Signs - Winter Sun

UV rays are still harmful even when the temperature drops. We'll show you how to protect yourself against the sun, even when it's cold.

by: Kristy Holland


Don't be fooled by cold temps–UV rays can burn long past Labor Day. Here's how to get outside without getting fried:

  • BLOCK THE ELEMENTS: At an elevation of 6,000 feet, your face gets hit with 30 percent more radiation than at sea level, and harsh winter winds dry skin quickly. Apply a sweat-proof, moisturizing sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) to all exposed skin.
  • COVER UP: Ice and snow reflect up to 90 percent of rays, which can burn you in unexpected places. Put sunscreen inside your nostrils and under your chin, and use lip balm with an SPF rating.
  • WEAR SHADES: Reflected rays can scorch corneas and temporarily blur vision (snow blindness). Limit exposure with wraparound sunglasses or goggles that block at least 99 percent of UV rays.


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