I’ve worked in the ski industry my entire life (well, almost) and I’ll never forget the time I went to a friend’s wedding in March. I hadn’t given a second thought to wearing sunscreen all winter and this was the result:


There I am, third from the right. I should have considered wearing something that didn’t accentuate the radical difference between the bottom half of my face and the rest of my body. Ever since that photo (March of 2007), I’ve been a religious user of sunscreen in the winter…here’s why (if that photo isn’t evidence enough):

  • UV radiation exposure increases 4-5 percent with every 1,000 feet above sea level. Skiers and snowboarders take note: according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the higher your elevation, the greater your exposure to harmful UV rays. Plus, snow reflects and intensifies sunlight.
  • Up to 80 percent of the sun’s rays can penetrate clouds. Just because it’s a cold, cloudy day doesn’t mean you won’t be exposed to the strong UVA rays that cause aging and, potentially, skin cancer.
  • Melanomas of the scalp and neck make up 6% of all melanomas, but cause 10% of all melanoma deaths. Anyone who’s suffered a scalp burn (and the embarrassing peeling that follows) knows how painful and uncomfortable it can be. The Skin Cancer Foundation points out that melanoma found on the scalp and neck are to blame for one tenth of all melanoma deaths, so if you’re planning on spending the day outdoors, make sure to either cover up with a dark-colored hat, or protect your exposed scalp with a spritz of lotion with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • There were approximately 2 million new cases of skin cancer in 2012.
  • Wearing sunscreen can slow the aging process by 24%. This last one isn’t scary; it’s just cool. A 2013 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that test subjects who used sunscreen daily decreased the speed of the skin’s aging process by 24% compared to the group that did not. So if the health benefits aren’t enough to motivate you to wear SPF, let its antiaging properties persuade you! (List from Birchbox)

Beautycounter has some great sunscreen options that work for the entire family, and even though this graphic is from this spring, are great year round as well. Unlike others I’ve tried, none of these leave me looking like Casper, and I can use them on my daughter as well. For the first seven orders placed through this link between now and the end of December 2016 will receive a free Protect Stick from me.

It’s important to not only use sunscreen, but choose safer options and generally practice safe sun. Look for sunscreens without vitamin A (retinyl palmitate), and with safer ingredients designed to care for your skin as well. You’re going to be using it every day, it should be a quality product you look forward to using.