Skin Care Tips for Outdoors Enthusiasts

Michael Zumwalt, MD

There are many reasons to love living in the Reno and Northern Nevada area. Some of the biggest perks of living here are the year-round sunny skies and a large number of outdoor recreation opportunities available just minutes away from home. As a Dermatologist and outdoor enthusiast, I have a passion for enjoying the great outdoors while being smart about sun protection. Here are a few helpful tips outdoor enthusiasts can incorporate into their routine to help minimize the risk of developing skin cancer later in life. 


Be Mindful Of Variations in Ultraviolet Light Intensity 

When considering sun protection, it is important to know what factors affect the intensity of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays which are the cause of skin cancer. The more direct the sun is overhead in the sky (mid-day sun), the higher the UV intensity. If possible, plan outdoor recreation in the morning or later afternoon as an easy way to minimize your UV exposure. Seasons also affect UV exposure as the UV intensity is decreased during the winter months due to the sun being at a more southern latitude. Although UV intensity is lower in the winter, sun protection is just as important because snow can greatly increase UV exposure due to its ability to reflect UV rays.  

A large contributor to our high amount of UV exposure here in the Reno-Tahoe area is elevation. For every 1,000 feet of elevation gain, UV intensity increases by 10%. The UV intensity while recreating in the Sierra Nevadas is nearly double compared to being at sea level, which is why sun protection is so important here in Northern Nevada. 


Use Sun Protection While Enjoying the Outdoors

Wearing broad-brimmed hats, long sleeve sun protective clothing, sunglasses, and neck gaiters while skiing, and reapplying sunscreen every few hours while out in the sun are a few simple steps outdoor enthusiasts can do to protect their skin from the sun while enjoying the beautiful outdoors.   

Dr. Zumwalt sees patients at our Warren Way location in Reno, our Sparks location, and at our Carson City location. To schedule an appointment with Skin Cancer & Dermatology Institute, you can book online or call 775.324.0699.