Three Sun Safe Spring Skiing Tips
Block the Sunburn
Sunscreens come in two basic flavors – physical and chemical. Physical block sunscreens use minerals, like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, to actively block UV rays from the sun by bouncing them away from your face and body.
Chemical sunscreens use carbon-based compounds, like oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate and avobenzone, to convert UV rays into heat which is harmlessly released from the skin.
Both physical and chemical sunscreens will protect your skin and prevent sunburn while skiing.
Which is best? That’s a personal decision. However, my skin cancer doctor swears by physical sun blocks. So that’s what we generally use.
Right now, my favorites are SuperGoop Mineral Sunscreen 40 SPF and Elta MD’s various mineral based facial and sport sunscreens. For a less expensive option, check out CeraVe SPF 50.
Best Tip: When shopping for physical sunblock, look for words like microfine and transparent, and aim for at least SPF 30. Don’t forget to reapply!
Love Your Lips
Last month, skiing several days in a row, I sunburned my lips, a totally rookie mistake. (For more skiing rookie mistakes, clicker here.)
I was using the wrong lip balm, one that moisturized, but did not contain any SPF.
Because lip skin is thin, and contains almost no melanin (which helps prevent sunburn), lips are at high risk for skin cancer.
As with sunscreen, aim for SPF 25 when buying lip balm (25 seems to be the more common sun protection factor). In the spirit of better late than never, I’m using Supergoop Mintfusion Lip Balm with Shea Butter. Any SPF chapstick type balm will work however.
We’ve found that most SPF lip balms use chemical blockers. There are some zinc and titanium dioxide lip balms available, but they are thicker, don’t go on as smoothly and sometimes leave a white residue on our lips.
For lip repair, I like Bag Balm Moisturizer in a small lip-friendly tube. But be aware! Bag Balm does not have any SPF. It’s only good for soothing the damage when the lip damage is done.
Best Tip: Carry a couple of tubes of SPF 25 lip balm everywhere you go (in case you lose one) and reapply!
Protect Your Eyes
I recently learned that eyelids are one of the most common areas for skin cancer. Yep, eyelids.
Which makes sense, because no one wants to put sunscreen anywhere near their eyes.
This makes sunglasses or goggles mandatory on sunny ski days.
Even if you always wear goggles (like me!), it’s smart to carry sunglasses on spring days for you and your kids. Why? For eating lunch outside, listening to music on a sunny deck or having some outdoor après fun. (For recent snowboard and ski goggle reviews, click here)
The best sunglasses for skiing use chemicals in the lenses to boost UV absorption to between 99% and 100%. You may also find glasses that say “UV absorption up to 400nm.” This is the same as 100% UV absorption.
Best Tip: Polarization has nothing to do with UV absorption, although it does cut glare. If you buy polarized lenses, make sure they’ve been treated for maximum UV absorption.
Two Bonus Spring Skiing Tips!
While we would never ski without gloves or mittens in the winter, it happens sometimes in spring. (Our favorite ski mittens for kids, here.)
Best Tip: Start your day by applying sunscreen to your hands – just in case. Reapply after hand washing.
I don’t buy Tom Brady’s theory that ultra-hydration can prevent sunburn, nor do most medical professionals.
Best Tip: Every time you and your family stop for a water break, reapply your lip balm and sunscreen.
Native Catamount Sunglasses, Reviewed
While planning this post, Native Eyewear sent me some new Catamount Sunglasses to review.
One of three new styles introduced this spring, the Catamount is well-suited to outdoor adventure and athletics.
The eco-friendly castor oil resin frame is feather light, flexible, and best suited to larger faces.
The arms are long, grippy and comfortable. Wrap-around lenses provide extra sun and wind protection. UV protection is rated up to 400 nm (the highest level) and the polarized lenses provide clarity.
I’ve worn the Catamount sunglasses running, biking and cross-country skiing. I like them. So much so, that I’m done with my previous cycling sunglasses. There is simply no comparison between the lenses. The Native lenses are much better.
Looking for extra style points? Choose pink or bright green lenses.
Thanks to Native Eyewear for facilitating this review with a product sample. I did not receive any samples of sunscreen or lip balm. As always, all opinions are my own and are exactly what I would tell my family and friends.
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