Does Snow Affect Skin Or Is Your Complexion Safe From The Chilly Conditions? — PHOTOS

Winter weather can dry out your skin, but what about snow itself? If you're in an area where the snow struggle gets real and are asking yourself, "Does snow affect skin?" it's a totally valid question! The answer is definitely yes, and the reason why is pretty serious and has nothing to do with frostbite.

Turns out, snow acts like one giant reflective mirror that can cause major sunburn and aging if you don't take precautions. Perry Robins, MD and president of The Skin Cancer Foundation, explained, "It's easy to associate winter with frostbite and windburn, but most people are unaware that UV rays can be every bit as damaging on the slopes as on the beach." He added that "snow reflects up to 80 percent of the UV light from the sun, meaning that you are often hit by the same rays twice." Time to hit the sunscreen hard...

Dr. Sonya Dakar also explained on her clinic's blog that snow sport lovers need to be extra careful. If you're a skiing or snowboarding fanatic, keep in mind that, "for every 1,000 feet you climb in altitude, UV radiation increases four percent." Combine reflective rays with a mountain top ski run and you are begging for major burns if you're not careful!

Luckily, there are several ways you can keep your skin safe and still have fun in the snow. Following all the tips below before heading out the door will help you prevent burns, premature aging, and even skin cancer.

1. Apply Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

SPF 50 Body Cream, $23, Clinique

At least half an hour before you step out the door, make sure to coat any exposed skin with sunscreen that has at least SPF 30 protection. Don't forget the tips of your ears!

2. Wear Sunglasses With UV Protection

UV Protection Sunglasses, $29.99, AeroTech Designs

Your eyelids also need coverage, so always opt for sunglasses and goggles with UV protection.

3. Use SPF Lip Balm

Intense Therapy Lip Balm, $7.50, Jack Black

Lips can burn, too! Prevent chapping and burning by making sure your lip balm has SPF.

4. Carry Travel-Size Sunscreen

Travel-Size Suncare SPF 30, $0.99, Ulta

According to SkinCancer.org, you should reapply your sunscreen every few hours. Carrying a travel-size means you have no excuse to skip an application while you're chilling on the chairlift.

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Images: Big D2112/Flickr; Courtesy of Brands