Believe it or not, the sun is actually much stronger at higher altitudes. With heightened intensity comes higher chances that your skin can be damaged. While it may seem that you’d get less sun exposure in higher places like Ouray lodging due to the clouds and cooler temperatures, objects at higher altitudes are physically closer to the sun.
For every thousand feet above sea level, ultraviolet (UV) rays intensify by 6%. So, places like Ouray Colorado Hot Springs will have levels around 50% more intense sun than flat land. At higher altitudes, the atmosphere also thins, making the sun rays more powerful, which relates to the way air density can cause damage to your skin.
Even just a few minutes of direct sunlight at high altitudes can damage your skin from a single burn. You want to make sure you are wearing sunscreen at all times when hanging out outside. Sunscreen of 30 SPF or higher with protection against both UVB and UVA rays should work. You also want to get waterproof sunscreen. Being outside and sweating all day from Colorado’s many outdoor activities can cause sunscreen to wear off. Waterproof sunscreen will stay on much longer through hikes in the mountains or a dip in a hot spring.
Reapply every two hours, even if you don’t feel like you’re burning. With cool temperatures, it can be easy to feel like you’re fine, but you want to protect yourself as much as you can from sunburn so you can enjoy your vacation!