The cold temperatures and decreased sunlight in winter lead many people to believe that they no longer need to protect their faces from sunburn, but this is not true. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun can still damage the skin, even when the temperature is freezing. If you plan to spend time outdoors this winter, you need to protect yourself from sunburn. Fleece face masks shield your skin from UV radiation while protecting you from the cold at the same time.
Factors Contributing to Winter Sunburn
Because the sun's rays strike the earth less directly during the winter, people assume that they are less damaging. This assumption is based on a misunderstanding. It is true that ultraviolet rays from the sun are less powerful during the winter as measured by the UV index. However, they are still strong enough to damage the skin in the form of sunburn.
The presence of snow or ice can actually magnify the power of the sun. When the snow reflects its rays into your face, you receive a double dose of UV radiation. This increases the exposure to a level similar to what you might experience during the summer months when the sun's rays strike you directly.
The UV index also varies depending on your elevation. Even when it is low at sea level, it increases at higher altitudes by 10% for every 1,000-metre increase. If you spend a day up in the mountains snowboarding or skiing, you are receiving a higher dose of radiation and are therefore at greater risk for sunburn. One way to protect yourself effectively from both the sun and the cold while participating in activities such as these is with a UV face mask that blocks both the rays from the sun and the reflected glare from the snow.
Complications of Sunburn
Severe or repeated sunburn puts you at greater risk for developing skin cancer later in life, which can be as early as your 30s. If diagnosed early, skin cancer is treatable, but if not, it can spread rapidly to other areas of the body, making it harder to treat and more likely to prove fatal. Skin damage from sun exposure can also cause wrinkles and skin discolouration, causing you to look older.
Some people use tanning beds to get a "base tan" before going on vacation in the hopes of preventing sunburn. The theory is that increased skin pigment will protect them from the sun's rays. However, the sun protection factor you get from a tan is minimal and not enough to justify the high dose of radiation you are receiving in a tanning bed, which can be at least as damaging to your skin as sun exposure.
Advantages of Fleece Face Masks
It is not only the skin of your face that is susceptible to sunburn. If the skin of your neck is exposed, it can be vulnerable too. A face mask worn as a gaiter protects both your face and your neck at the same time.
Your skin is vulnerable to other winter weather conditions besides the sun. Exposure to cold and wind can deplete the layer of protective oil in your skin and cause irritation known as windburn. Unlike sunburn, which can occur at the same time, windburn does not cause long-term skin damage, but it can be miserable in the short term. In addition to filtering out UV radiation from the sun, a face mask also cuts down wind exposure.
Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can also put you at risk for more serious conditions. Frostbite occurs when the skin freezes and is common on the nose and ears. A fleece face mask provides insulation to prevent this.
Our Fast Masks combine a stylish look with skin protection from sun, wind, and cold. Check out our wide selection of stylish fleece face masks today.