How to Choose Sunscreen
Sunscreen absorbs UV rays and prevents them from penetrating the skin. Sunscreens are available with a sun protection factor (SPF) ranging from 2 to about 100.
· Use an SPF of 15 or higher, and if you work outdoors or are planning to be outside most of the day, use an SPF 30.
· Make sure the product offers both UVA and UVB protection (usually labelled “broad-spectrum”).
· If you’re in the water, make sure your sunscreen is water-resistant.
Sun Protection Factor (SPF)
Sunscreens are rated by the strength of their SPF. The SPF tells you the product’s ability to screen or block out the sun’s UVB rays.
SPF 15 sunscreen blocks 93% of UVB rays. Sunscreen with SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays. Make sure you use a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen, which will help protect your skin from UVA rays too. All sunscreens allow some UV rays to penetrate your skin, but broad spectrum will give you the best protection. How to Use Sunscreen
· Apply a generous amount of sunscreen to clean, dry skin at least 20 minutes before you go out to allow the active ingredients to soak into your skin. Don’t forget your ears, nose, neck, any bald spots and the tops of your feet.
· Use an SPF 15 sunscreen lip balm and reapply when needed. Your lips need protection too.
· Follow the instructions for reapplying your sunscreen, especially after swimming or sweating.
· Don’t forget to apply sunscreen on cloudy days and during the winter months.
· Try different sunscreens until you find one that works best for you. Talk to your pharmacist if you need help in choosing a sunscreen.
Sunglasses can help prevent damage to your eyes by blocking a large amount of UV rays. Keep your shades on and make sure your children wear them too. Sunglasses don't have to be expensive to be effective, but make sure you choose ones with:
· Even shading
· Medium to dark lenses (grey, brown or green tint)
· UVA and UVB protection
Know the Signs of Skin Cancer
Most skin cancers can be cured if they’re caught early enough.
Check your skin regularly. Make sure that you or someone else checks “hard-to-get-at” places such as your back, back of your neck and ears and backs of your legs.
What to watch for:
· Any change in a birthmark or a mole that changes shape, colour, size or surface.
· Any new growth on your skin – pale, pearly nodules that may grow larger and crust, or red, scaly, sharply defined patches.
· Any sore that doesn’t heal.
· Any patch of skin that bleeds, oozes, swells, itches or becomes red and bumpy.
· If you notice changes or are confused about what you should be looking for, ask your doctor for help.