I love a good frollick in the the sun as much as the next girl. While summer is the season of choice for the family beach holiday, wintertime for me is the perfect romantic get-away season. Think cosy fireplaces, ski chalets and mountain walks.
The thing about winter is, it fools us into complacency when it comes to sun protection. We've all been guilty of saying 'but I can't feel the burn'. Well it's no surprise, because you can't feel UV rays. The comforting warmth on our skin that we feel is actually a product of the sun's infrared radiation. While the UV radiation levels are generally lower during the winter, you can still get sunburnt. If you're in the mountains, there is less atmosphere to block out the UV rays. Not to mention the reflective properties of snow.
Some sun exposure within safe levels can be beneficial because our skin uses it to produce vitamin D, which is important for bone health. It may also help to reduce your risk of certain other diseases, including a number of cancers, although more research needs to be done to be certain.
I guess the moral of the story is, that if you are lucky enough to be enjoying a time this winter in the mountains hiking, skiing or cuddling, don't forget to continue to protect your skin. That means sun protection clothing where you can, sunscreen, hat and glasses.
For further information contact Cancer Council Australia www.cancer.org.au