Dr. Kelly Stankiewicz, recently opened a cutting edge clinic committed to patient care—The Dermatology House. Here she explains how to protect against the sun this winter.
Q. Why is it important to protect our skin from the sun in the winter?
Although farther from the Earth in the winter, the sun is still strong—especially at high altitude. Cumulative sun exposure is responsible for increased skin cancer risk and aging from the sun.
Q. What is unique about sun protection at this elevation?
With every 1000 meters increase in altitude, UV levels increase by 10-20%. Park City is at 2100 meters so it has at least 25% higher UV radiation than sea level cities. Snow reﬂ ects 80 % of UV light that hits its surface. That means in the winter, you have sun coming at your skin from all directions.
Q. What three things are most needed to protect Parkites from the sun?
1. Sunscreen is essential. Sunscreen should be SPF 30 or above and it should be reapplied every 1.5-2 hours. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide provide the best coverage and they tend to stay on the skin a little longer.
2. Sun protective clothing.
3. Take a break from outdoor activities and go inside for lunch. The sun is the strongest from 10 am and 3 pm.
Q. What should be included in skin care at this altitude because of the sun and the cold?
For added sun protection and protection from the elements, I recommend an antioxidant serum. Good moisturizers are extremely important to protect against dryness and cold. Using a heavy cream at night will protect the skin and improve its barrier function.