Fact or Fiction: Skin and Weather

Estimated Completion Time
3 min
To avoid the damaging effects of the sun, you should wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to protect your skin from UVA rays.
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fiction
almost fact: Your sunscreen should protect you against UVB rays, too.
Both UVA and UVB rays can be harmful, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using sunscreen with at least SPF 15 to prevent sunburn.

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In freezing temperatures, many victims of frostbite don't know anything's wrong because their skin and body tissues are numb.
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Often, friends or family are the first to clue in that someone has frostbite. Frostbite, or when part of the body starts to freeze, can be dangerous. Discolored skin (gray or white-yellowish in color) and unusually firm skin are other signs of frostbite.
fiction
almost fact: People who develop frostbite from cold weather always notice it.

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Glands in your skin are less likely to produce oil in humid environments.
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fiction
Actually, humidity can kick oil glands into overdrive, sometimes worsening acne.
almost fact: The weather doesn't affect oil production in the skin.

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Dry weather intensifies the redness or itchiness caused by skin conditions such as eczema (atopic dermatitis).
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Dry weather can worsen these symptoms, but the good news is that applying moisturizers and topical creams can at least help soothe these areas.
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almost fact: It's the opposite -- they are worse with humid weather.

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Windburn is caused by blasts of dry, cold air and exposure to the sun.
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almost fact: Flying debris -- including snow, saltwater or sand -- can also cause dryness.
While skiing or participating in other winter activities, your skin is more vulnerable to drying out. Parched skin, sunburn and friction caused by debris can create a painful windburn. Fortunately, greasy sunscreen can do double duty, protecting you from both the sun and the wind.

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After coming in from a cold and dry winter day, you should relax by taking a long, hot shower.
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Before blasting the heat, think about what scalding water will do to your skin. Shorter exposures to hot water are less abrasive than longer ones, but both damage the skin. Certain fats and proteins conserve the skin's moisture, but when dry weather and hot showers strip them away, the skin loses much of its natural moisture.
almost fact: Short, hot showers are completely fine.

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People with dark skin or tans don't need to wear sunscreen.
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Though people with light skin are more vulnerable to sunburn, people with dark skin or tans still can develop skin cancer from damaging sun exposure. Sunscreen is recommended for everyone -- regardless of skin color, gender or age.
almost fact: People with a tan do need to wear sunscreen, whereas naturally dark-skinned people do not.

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Frequent dips in the pool during the summer can strip your skin of natural oils.
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fiction
almost fact: It's true, especially in water with chlorine in it.
Everyone's skin reacts differently, but swimming in pools that use chlorine can make the skin dry.

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Sun exposure is the most harmful for your skin between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. standard time (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. during daylight saving time).
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Wearing sunscreen is a habit for most regardless of the time of day, but UV rays are the most intense from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (or 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during daylight-saving time).
fiction
almost fact: The sun is equally harmful, no matter when you're outside.

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As you get older, your skin is more likely to be affected by the weather.
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It's true: Your skin loses its elasticity and thickness as you age, making it more vulnerable to dryness and cracking from weather conditions.
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almost fact: Actually, it's the opposite -- your skin gets used to it.

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Before going to an outdoor barbecue on a sunny day, you should put insect repellent on before sunscreen because both products work better that way.
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fiction
In general, you'll have the best protection from pesky insects and the sun if you apply sunscreen before insect repellent.
almost fact: You should never use sunscreen and insect repellent simultaneously.

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Acne will probably clear up in the spring and summer months since sunlight is known to treat acne.
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Though some people with acne claim sunlight helps, there is no scientific proof to support this claim. Plus, some acne treatments make people's skin more sensitive to the sun.
almost fact: With sunscreen, of course!

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Even during the winter months, skiers and snowboarders risk skin damage because snow reflects around 80 percent of UV rays.
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almost fact: Being exposed to the sun at higher altitudes makes the rays more intense, too.
In addition to snow reflecting UV rays, elevation matters, too. Exposure to UV rays increases by 8 percent to 10 percent for every 1,000 feet (305 meters) above sea level.

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Weather conditions don't contribute to someone developing heat rash -- an irritation of the skin caused by sweating.
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Hot and humid conditions -- inside or outside -- contribute to heat rash, which occurs when sweat ducts are blocked.
almost fact: Heat rash has nothing to do with indoor conditions either.

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If you have dry skin and cold-weather itch, you should bathe less often and avoid using more soap than needed.
fact
Your hygiene might take a temporary hit if you're battling dry winter skin. Don't avoid bathing altogether, but limit yourself to one shower per day. Since using excess soap further dries out skin, use only what you need to get the job done.
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almost fact: Don't skimp out bathing or soap!

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People who take certain medications can experience side effects after spending time in the sun.
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Sun-sensitizing drugs, or ones with side effects caused by sun exposure (or UV rays from tanning beds), can damage skin.
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almost fact: It's exposure to tanning beds, not natural sunlight.

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In dry and cold weather, it's a smart idea to lock moisture in your skin by using lotion or moisturizers before venturing outside.
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almost fact: Even better, you should clothe exposed skin areas, too.
Applying a protectant such as petroleum jelly can help maintain your skin's moisture. But covering up is valuable as well, especially since exposure to dry air dries up skin.

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Clouds can protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
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Slathering on a sunscreen is a good idea, even on cloudy days. Clouds can filter UV rays, but they don't really protect you from them.
almost fact: They hinder gamma rays as well.

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Wind chill and skin have nothing in common.
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almost fact: They have one thing in common: Wind chill is defined as heat loss from skin exposed to the wind and cold.
According to the National Weather Service, wind chill is based on "the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by wind and cold." Essentially, wind draws heat away from our skin, resulting in the temperature feeling colder (to us) than it actually is.

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Applying sunscreen 10 minutes before going outside on a sunny day will provide full SPF protection.
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fiction
The CDC recommends applying sunscreen 30 minutes before exposing yourself to the sun in order to reap the benefits of full SPF protection.
almost fact: Applying it immediately is just as effective.

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