When I was young (in my 20s), I felt like nothing could harm me. But now, after having a mole removed and following this, a serious discussion with my doctor on skin care and the risks, I am much more careful with how I care for my skin in the sun.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to speak with Francois Roberge, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs for Garnier Ombrelle. Francois shared with me the best steps that any person can take to protect themselves from the potentially harmful rays of the sun.
Francois shared these tips and the latest updates about sunscreen protection in Canada.
What have been the recent changes in sunscreen protection?
Health Canada's new Guidance Document on Sunscreen now allows a UVA logo to be printed on the labels of sun products which offer a protection factor against UVA rays equivalent to 1/3 of the Sun Protection Factor (SPF). UVB rays cause sunburn and UVA rays can lead to premature skin aging, disrupt the immune system and increase the risk of skin cancer.
The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) only indicates the level of protection against UVB rays, not against UVA rays. Suncare products that protect only against UVB rays risk giving a false sense of protection, as they don't keep UVA rays from reaching the skin. From now on, these clearer labelling rules will facilitate the easy identification of highly efficient products that offer a balanced broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
A product having an SPF of 30 must therefore offer a UVA protection of at least 10 to be allowed to use the UVA logo.
Who should be using sunscreen?
Everyone spending time under the sun should be using sunscreen. For use on children less than six months of age, it is recommended to consult a health professional. It is also recommended to not expose babies and young children directly to the sun.
If you have been using self tanner are you safe from the sun?
No, self-tanner doesn't provide protection against harmful UVA and UVB rays.
How can you get the most out of your sunscreen protection?
Remember that to provide the best protection, you should apply about 30 ml of sunscreen to cover the body of an adult. This means that a 120 ml bottle will only be enough for four full body applications.
Any other tips?
To avoid consequences of overexposure to the sun like sunburns, premature aging of the skin, wrinkling, and skin cancer, including melanoma by practicing proper sun protection:
- Use sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher with the UVA logo printed on the label to unsure the best balanced UVA and UVB protection.
- Apply evenly 15 minutes before sun exposure and don't forget your ears, nose and neck.
- Depending on your activities, reapply at least every two hours, after swimming, sweating and towel drying.
- Be aware that the sun's rays can penetrate light clouds
- Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, nose and neck.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure.
Sunscreen only lasts for two hours. Make sure you re-apply if you're going to be out in the sun longer. Keep in mind that it takes 30 minutes for your sunscreen before it starts working, so that implies to re-apply every 1.5 hours to be safe.
Any other tips?
Even if you're using waterproof sunscreen, make sure you re-apply after you towel off.
I will be using these tips to keep my skin safe and happy this summer. Your suggestions are always welcome, as I continue on my journey to enjoy life to the fullest. Let's have the very best 2016!
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Sunscreens come in two forms: Physical sunscreens, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are minerals that sit on the skin's surface and reflect the sun's rays like tiny mirrors. Chemical sunscreens, such as avobenzone and oxybenzone, work like little sponges to absorb and neutralize solar energy. Physical blockers can deflect both types of rays: UVA and UVB. Chemical ingredients may defend against only one or the other. Look for broad spectrum on the label to make sure the product you use covers both. There are pros and cons with each form. While physical blockers very rarely cause an allergic reaction, a small percentage of the population is allergic to avobenzone or oxybenzone, according to Darrell Rigel, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center. "The main problem with physical sunscreens is that they tend to be less water-resistant," Rigel says. "You put them on and go in the pool or sweat, and they can just run off." If you're the sporty type, select a chemical sunscreen, which is more likely formulated to resist water and perspiration. No matter what kind you end up choosing, "you need at least an SPF 30 every day," says Rigel. Making Sure Your Sunscreen Works If dermatologists could tell you one thing about the way you apply sunscreen, it's this: You're skimping. To shield your face and body adequately when you're outdoors, experts say you need a full ounce of sunscreen (equivalent to a shot glass). And you need to reapply that amount every two hours -- more often if you're getting wet. (Water-resistant sunscreens are rated for 40 or 80 minutes -- check the label. After that, it's time for another coat.) So even if you're spending only a long weekend in Bermuda, a couple of TSA-approved bottles won't cut it. When your day is spent mostly indoors, it's OK to say "one (coat) and done." "You still need an SPF 30, but you can put it on in the morning and not reapply unless you go out for errands," says Rigel.
If you've got skin, the following applies to you. There are two types of skin cancer. Nonmelanoma -- basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma -- usually looks like a little pimple or sore, may also bleed and doesn't go away after a few weeks. "Anything that's bleeding, scabbing, crusting and not healing needs to be checked by a dermatologist," says Lisa Chipps, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Melanoma is a potentially deadly form that often shows up as an irregular mole. Follow the ABCDE guide. If your spot fits any of the descriptions below, get yourself to a dermatologist, stat. Asymmetry: one side is different from the other Borders: scalloped or irregular edges Color: multiple shades instead of a uniform brown hue Diameter: larger than a pencil eraser Evolving: anything that changes in size, shape or color over time Special Alert Attention, darker-skinned women: You are more susceptible to a specific form of melanoma that tends to develop on palms and soles, says Carlos Charles, MD, clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College. It may also appear as a linear pigmented band on the nail bed, so check those areas regularly.
Don't leave the house this summer without one of these ten hardworking bodyguards. 1. Clarins UV Plus Anti-Pollution Broad Spectrum SPF 50, $42; Clarins.com 2. SkinMedica Total Defense + Repair SPF 50, $75; SkinMedica.com 3. Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream SPF 50+, $36; Shiseido.com 4. Paula's Choice Resist Anti-Aging Lip Gloss SPF 40, $18; PaulasChoice.com 5. SkinCeuticals Physical Matte UV Defense SPF 50, $34; Skinceuticals.com 6. L'Oréal Paris Advanced Suncare Invisible Protect Clear Finish Spray SPF 50, $11; drugstores 7. La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Cooling Water-Lotion Sunscreen SPF 60, $36; drugstores 8. Coppertone Ultra Guard AccuSpray Sunscreen SPF 30, $10; drugstores 9. Avène Ultra-Light Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+, $24; drugstores 10. Neutrogena CoolDry Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30, $10.50; drugstores
What's the best sunscreen? "The one you'll wear every day -- as long as it's broad spectrum and at least SPF 30," says Chipps. "You have to like the texture, or you aren't going to use it. It's a personal preference, and finding yours may take some trial and error." Won't sunscreen make my oily skin break out? It's not the sunscreen agents causing your pimples; it's the formula, says Rigel. If blocked pores are a problem, look for OIL-FREE or NONCOMEDOGENIC on the label. Is the SPF in my makeup enough? That would be a resounding no, say dermatologists. "If you wear a thick coat of foundation all over your face, then maybe," says Chipps. "But most people don't -- they apply a thin layer and put on only a little extra if they're covering a blemish." If you want to thwart the rays, first smooth on a lightweight sunscreen, then put on your makeup.
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