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Is it possible to get a sunburn in winter?

Although sunburns are more common in summer when people are outside longer and have more exposed skin, sunburns can occur any time of year. The sun's rays can bounce off of snow and ice, so it possible to get a bad burn on your face or other skin that is not covered up during the winter. That's why it is always a good idea to wear sunscreen no matter the weather.

It is possible to get a sunburn during the winter, especially if you are at a higher elevation or near snow. At an altitude of 9,000 to 10,000 feet, ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun may be 35 to 45 percent stronger than at sea level. Also, the snow reflects the sun's UV rays and can almost double the amount of sun exposure received. This is why it is important to continue to use skin protective measures during the winter in order to protect yourself from the damaging effects of the sun. This includes wearing sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, lip balm with an SPF of at least 15, gloves, sunglasses and a hat.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.