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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