During the winter it’s hard to think about the sun, sunburns, and sunscreen. But did you know that your skin is more susceptible to burning when you’re out snowboarding than when you’re surfing, skating, or weigh-lifting? Resorts and snow areas are located in the mountains, and as altitude increases, ultraviolet light also increases due to the thinner atmosphere’s inability to filter UV as effectively as at sea level. Higher altitude equals higher risk of burning.

Fact

·Heredity and environment are the determining factors for skin cancer.

·Sunburn and UV light damages our skin, and this damage can lead to skin cancer.

·The level of UV light today is higher than it was 50 or 100 years ago. This is due to a reduction of ozone in the Earth’s atmosphere. Ozone serves as a filter to screen out and reduce the amount of UV light that we are exposed to. With less atmospheric ozone, a higher level of UV light reaches the Earth’s surface.

·One out of seven people get skin cancer each year, making it the most common form of cancer.

The only parts of our bodies usually exposed during snowboarding is our face, ears and neck-the most “popular” places for skin cancer to appear. I’m one of those lucky people that have light hair, light eyes, and yes, a family history of skin cancer, so you might say that over the years I have become a sunscreen connoisseur of sorts. The new “sport” screens are sweat- and water-resistant, do not sting the eyes, tend not to feel greasy on the skin, and don’t add a peculiar smell to one’s body.

Aloe Up Super Block

Super Block contains 25 percent aloe vera gel, goes on clean, and is the least greasy-feeling of all the lotions tested. Anything with aloe in its name has got to be good for you.

Banana Boat

Besides being my personal favorite product, Banana Boat has several different screens in their Sportline. The regular SPF 30 Sport Lotion is sweatproof, hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic (non-clogging), and 100-percent fragrance-free. Quik Blok Sport and Action Sport Spray Gel come in non-aerosol 25 SPF bottles. Get on the Boat! Don’t you love it when companies spell things wrong to be kool.

Bull Frog

The new Amphibious Formula Quik Gel comes in an all-day 36 SPF. It also contains aloe (remember, aloe = good) and vitamin E, and because it is a gel, smooths on easily and dries quickly. It leaves a bit of a residue, which could account for its “sand resistance,” but I hope that you don’t get too much sand in your long johns or in your face, for that matter, while you’re snowboarding.

Coppertone

Coppertone’s Sport Sunblock Spray is another non-aerosol spray product in SPF 15. It’s is sweat- and water-resistant, works well, and has that signature Coppertone fragrance that all Coppertone products do. The bottle states “No Rubbing Recquired.” Since when was rubbing a bad thing?

Headhunter

Headhunter Surf Screen comes in two different formulas: clear SPF 30+ and a lotion formula. Developed specifically for surfers, this screen is the closest to being waterproof of all of the products but does work best on darker skin tones, or on skin that is already tan. If you’ve forgotten, snow is all water.

Sea & Ski

Sea & Ski Sport Sunblock Dry Lotion comes in SPF 15 and higher formulas. It’s not tested on animals, is tested on athletes, and works as well as the others They really should change their name to Sea & Snow, though.

Besides encouraging you to wear sunscreen, any sunscreen, look for screens that have UVA and UVB protection, contain a screen rating of SPF 15 or higher, are alcohol and PABA free, and remember to apply it fifteen minutes before you enter the sun. Try different products until you find one that works with your skin type.

P.S. Don’t forget lip protection, ’cause herpes sores ain’t attractive.