I have always been in pretty good health, so I was surprised one day when my doctor told me my blood pressure was a bit high. She told me to begin watching my salt intake, start exercising, and to try to relax. Well, I intended to follow her advice when I left her office, but the next day I was back to my same habits. I kept using the salt shaker and didn't begin an exercise routine like I had planned. When I went for my next check-up, she told me that my blood pressure was even higher and approaching a dangerous level. I had to begin a blood pressure medication to manage it. I wanted to create a blog to share my story and remind people to listen to their doctors' advice. If a few lifestyle changes can improve your health, then you should make them.
You may have a strict sunblock regimen when you hit the beach, but are you taking that same care during your winter sports? While many people are finally realizing that a "sun-kissed" beach look isn't always great for healthy skin, there are some who forget that sun exposure during a ski trip can be just as bad, if not worse! For instance, the World Health Organization says that beach sand can reflect as much as 15% of UV radiation, but snow can reflect about 80% of UV radiation! If you are planning a skiing get-together, you'll want to know why this UV radiation is harmful, how you can protect yourself from it, and how to mitigate any sun damage you do incur.
Why is This UV Radiation So Harmful Anyway?
In simple terms UV radiation is just one form of energy that can come from the sun. It is also the cause of erythema, or in simple terms: a sunburn. Sunburns are often seen as general annoyances rather than something serious, but they can have lasting effects. They damage collagen fibers, which give your skin strength and reduce the appearance of age; and, they can lead to dehydration, damage to your immune system, damage to your eyes, and in the long term, an increased risk of skin cancer.
How Can You Protect Your Skin While You're On the Slopes?
Now that you've been thoroughly chastised with a mini PSA announcement, you're probably wondering what you can do about UV radiation. The easiest and obvious thing you can do is to wear sunblock; wear at least an SPF 30 since you'll be outdoors for an extended period of time. Don't let cloudy or inclement weather fool you--the sun can still cut through clouds and that UV radiation can still reflect off of the snow.
Skincancer.org says that you should apply the sunblock about a half an hour before you ski, and then take a break every two hours to apply more sunscreen. You may want to plan on meeting your group at a the resort's lodge in the afternoon, so plan on applying more sunscreen during that time. If you are working up a sweat, be sure to be even more generous with your applications since sweat can break down the sunscreen's protection more quickly. Be generous with the sunscreen on sensitive spots like lips, around the eyes, on top of your ears, and on the back of your neck.
Besides sunscreen, there are a few more things you can do. Make sure you cover up your face as much as possible with ski masks, scarves, etc. You can kill two birds with one stone if you use sunglasses or goggles. Not only will they protect your eyes from the sun and wind, but they will keep you and others safe since it will be easier to see the terrain without glare. Lastly, make sure you carry a water bottle to fight dehydration.
How Can You Mitigate Skin Damage After Skiing?
If you've been skiing a lot, burns are bound to happen. If you have blistering, nausea, or high-fever, you need to get into a doctor since it could be a second degree burn. If it's a first degree burn, you can apply a generous amount of aloe throughout the day and take an over-the-counter pain killer. Since some moisturizing lotions can irritate sensitive skin, you may want to swing by your dermatologist's office for sunburn-specific lotion. If your friends want to go skiing again, you may want to hold off for a few days or stick to mainly green circles/blue squares since even a mild sunburn can cause dehydration.
If any freckles or moles were burned, you'll want to observe them until they heal. Over time, extensive damage to moles and freckles could put you at a higher risk for melanoma. When you observe your skin, you'll want to look for the "ABCDs of Melanoma": asymmetry, border changes, color changes, and diameter changes. If you see a change, your doctor can perform mole removal and get rid of other benign growths before they become malignant.
If you use some common sense on the slopes and take care of yourself afterward, you won't have to worry about sunburns ruining your ski day!Share
29 January 2015