06/21/2012 12:49 EDT | Updated 08/21/2012 05:12 EDT

Five Things You Didn't Know About Sunscreen



I consider myself to be fairly sun savvy. Six years working in the beauty industry have ensured I always apply a facial lotion with SPF in the mornings and keep a stash of wide brimmed hats by the door. You will never catch me sunbathing. Yet, somehow, I get burned every summer. I've also noticed a fair amount of pigmentation around my hairline and on my cheeks that is increasing year over year. Something in my routine is clearly not working and it may not be working for you either.

The following tips were compiled from my discussions with the sun experts at Johnson & Johnson:

1. According to, 80 per cent of sun exposure is incidental. Walking to the car from your house, picking up a carton of milk from the corner grocery store, going outside on a cloudy or even a rainy day -- all of these activities result in unintentional sun exposure that ads up to 80 per cent over your lifetime. That day at the beach is nothing compared to a lifetime of daily incidental exposure without protection.

2. Even if you apply sun protection every day, it might not be making much of a difference because you're probably not wearing enough. Johnson & Johnson advise that the proper dosage is a full 2 Tablespoons for your body, and a good 1/2 Teaspoon for your face. I don't know about you, but I probably do less than half of that.

3. Sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours. This applies whether you are spending the day outside or just protecting yourself from incidental exposure. Oops.

4. Not all sunscreens are created equally. So you've applied two tablespoons of tanning oil with UVB protection. You're covered, right? Wrong. UVB rays are the ones that cause burns, but UVA protection is for the aging rays, which are the ones that can lead to discolouration, wrinkles and fine lines. This is why it's so important to read the label and ensure there is broad spectrum protection with UVA and UVB protection.

5. The SPF in your makeup or facial moisturizer might not be enough protection. According to Health Canada, those types of products are considered secondary sunscreens, in that consumers use them primarily for cosmetic benefit (moisturizing, evening skin tone) rather than sun protection. Chances are, you aren't reapplying every two hours.

If you're looking for optimal sun protection throughout the entire day, you need to use these products as you would use a primary sunscreen and reapply every two hours.

I guess this explains those unsightly blobs on my face. I'm definitely going to take my sun protection even more seriously now. What about you?

For more articles like this, please visit my website at