10 Things You Need to Know About Sunscreen
More time outside means it’s time to get your sunscreen on. While sunscreen is a year-long essential, it’s even more important during the summer months since you’re outdoors longer and with a lot less clothing to protect your skin. Even if you’re diligent about applying your SPF everyday, you may still be practicing some behaviours that could lead to sun damage or worse, increase your chances of skin cancer. Read on to get 10 tips to help your protect your skin from the sun.
1. Your Morning Application Dissolves by Noon. If you think a morning application of sunscreen will get you through the day, think again. Dermatologists recommend reapplying every two hours, regardless if you’ve been swimming or sweating, as the filters begin break down when they come in contact with the sun. The only way to be truly safe is to reapply and of course if it has come off in the water or with sweat, be sure to reapply immediately after.
2. You Need to Apply Enough. How much do you actually put on your skin? The correct amount according to MySkinCheck.ca, a sun awareness website created by dermatologists and La Roche-Posay, is an ounce, which visually looks like an egg, golf ball or shot glass. This amount will adequately cover your entire body.
3. Not All Sunscreen is Created Equal. While the FDA has recently made changes to labelling, unfortunately sunscreen is not yet regulated in Canada. When selecting a sunscreen that will fully protect you, look for “broad spectrum sunscreen” on the label. This means that it will protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
4. A Higher SPF Doesn’t Protect You Better. SPF 60…80..100. Does this mean you’re more protected? The short answer is no. SPF essentially tells you how long it will take you to burn and only really protects you against UVB rays (the kind that burn your skin), so while you may get a bit more time out in the sun without burning if you choose a higher SPF, it doesn’t mean you’re more protected.
5. A Fake Tan Doesn’t Protect Your Skin. Whether you’ve lathered on some bronzing gel or done a spray tan in a booth, don’t be fooled into thinking it will protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Bottom line: no sunscreen, no protection.
6. SPF in Makeup Isn’t Enough. While many different moisturizers and makeup contain SPF, it’s not always enough especially if you plan on being outdoors for extended periods of time. Plus as mentioned earlier, SPF alone isn’t enough — you need something that will protect against UVA rays (these are the harmful ones that cause skin aging and cancer).
7. There is No Thing as Waterproof. In Canada you won’t find any sunscreen labels that say “waterproof” only “water resistant,” as Health Canada felt it was misleading consumers. In order for a sunscreen to be designated as water resistant it needs to remain on the skin 45 minutes after exposure to water. Even so, it’s still essential to reapply.
8. UV Rays Are Still Out on Cloudy Days. Don’t think a little overcast weather gives you permission to skip out on your daily sunscreen. Even though you won’t burn, harmful UVA rays are still coming through the clouds and can damage your skin.
9. There’s a Sunscreen For You. When searching for a sunscreen thankfully there are plenty of types on the market to search from including gels, lotions and sprays. Experiment until you find one you love to wear.
10. You Can’t Rely 100% on Sunscreen Alone. Sunscreen is key to protecting your skin, but don’t expect it to be a replacement for safe sun habits. Remember to protect your eyes with sunglasses, your scalp with a hat and if possible stay out of the sun during peak hours (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.).
[Photo courtesy Style.com]
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