Sun Protection Know-how

We all know that sun exposure leaves your skin vulnerable to burning, aging (wrinkles) and skin cancer and your eyes to cataracts. So sun safety should be a priority for everyone.

When do you need sun protection? Protect yourself whenever you are outside in the sun: in summer, in winter, at high altitude and near water, snow or other reflective surfaces. There is no safe time of year when it comes to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Even on a cloudy day, 80% of the sun’s UV rays pass through the clouds and reach the earth

What to do for sun protection:

  • Wear clothes, a hat and sunglasses – all provide protection. And yes – sunglasses are important for children too.
  • Stay in the shade if you can – and keep infants in the shade, as they lack the tanning pigment that could offer even slight protection from the sun.
  • Be outdoors in early morning or late afternoon – avoid the sun’s highest harmful UV levels between 10am and 4pm.
  • Wear sunscreen –Apply it liberally 30 minutes before you go outside and, for safety, reapply every 2 hours if you remain outside. Use it on everyone in the family, from 6 months of age upwards (infants younger than 6 months may not be capable of tolerating sunscreen ingredients. Use it on ALL exposed skin – arms, legs, faces, noses, lips.
  • Avoid suntans – it used to be fashionable, but it’s not safe for your skin. Sunless tanning products might offer you the tanned look, without the UV rays.

What to look for in a sunscreen:

  • Broad Spectrum - means it’s effective against both UVB (skin-burning) and UVA (skin aging) rays. Both UVA and UVB can contribute to skin cancer.
  • SPF – this stands for Sun Protection Factor. The SPF rating x your sunburn risk (based on your skin type) = the safe sun exposure time for your skin. For example, if you are very fair, usually get a sunburn after 20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure and are using a product with SPF 30, then you are protected for 20 x 30 = 600 minutes (10 hours). The minimum SPF to look for is 15, for skin safety. And it’s always a good idea to add extra protection (a higher SPF, or even zinc cream) on those areas of your skin that are more sun-sensitive, like noses. A lip balm with sunscreen is important too.
  • Water-resistant – No sunscreen is waterproof, but if you will be in the water, or sweating a lot, consider getting a sunscreen that says it’s water-resistant. You still need to reapply it every hour or so and after toweling off, but at least it doesn’t come off right away while you swim or exercise in the sun.
  • Format – Sprays, lotions and mousses are all effective – it is just personal choice. For faces, look for oil-free products that won’t clog your pores.

What is the best sunscreen?

The best sunscreen is one you like well enough to use regularly. The Life Brand Sunthera3 range of products are all approved by the Canadian Dermatologist Association and offer broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB. They are available in many different SPFs and types with lotions and sprays in both water-resistant and regular formats. Many people choose the convenient, easy to apply Life Brand Sunthera3 Continuous Spray SPF 30.

Got a sunburn?

Soothe your skin right away, cover up and stay out of the sun. Use products like Life Brand After Sun Aloe Gel to cool and soothe your skin. Then follow up with moisturizers regularly.