Skin cancer risks fluctuate from season to season. While summer does offer some of the strongest sun rays of the year, that doesn’t mean that winter is a time to stop using protection. Radiation can still bounce off the clouds, making them more focused and more risky, even when temperatures dip.
Allowing the sun (even the winter sun) to penetrate the skin can cause damage to skin cells. Over time, those cells may find it harder to rejuvenate. Eventually, this type of UV damage will change the structure of the cells and how they work, and this may result in skin cancer.
Since too many people fall for the myth that clouds help protect them from the sun, they may actually increase their risk of skin cancer during the winter months. Canstar Cannex (via My Body + Soul) reveals less than 20% of the Australians wear sunscreen during winter. In addition, the extra clothing worn this time of year can make detection harder if you aren’t taking the time to look for suspicious spots and moles, regardless of the weather outside.
The Sun Doesn’t Go Away in the Winter
The days may seem darker during the winter time, but the sun is still there, radiating UV rays. You can’t see or feel UV radiation, which is one of the reasons why people equate the warmth of summer with them. What many people do not realise is that the three basic types of UV rays (UB, UVA, UVC), can cause skin damage during any time of the year if they are strong enough.
But how do you know when those rays are dangerous? The temperature outside can’t tell you; nor can the amount of sunshine seen. The most efficient way to gauge the strength of the UV rays at any given time is through the UV Index.
This international scale ranges from 1 to 20 (with levels three and above considered dangerous to the skin). To see Australia’s UV risk in real time, check out the index offered by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency.