Pack the SPF & Make this March Break Sunburn Free!

March 4, 2020

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With March Break just around the corner, it's a chance to escape to a sunny destination, relax and soak up the same. But a break from the winter should not mean a break from skin care and sun safety. We break down some common sunscreen myths and give you tips on how to keep your family happy and sunburn free.

What does SPF mean?

SPF stands for "sun protection factor" and is a measurement of protection against harmful UVB rays. Wondering which factor to choose? SPF 15 filters out approximately 93% of all incoming UVB rays, SPF 30 keeps out 97% and SPF 50 keeps out 98%. Sunscreens should be broad spectrum - this means that they will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays.

What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?

UVB is mainly responsible for sunburns while UVA penetrates more deeply into the skin and is mainly responsible for wrinkles, age spots and worse, potentially skin cancer including melanoma. Exposure to both UVA and UVB rays increases the risk of skin cancer.

When and how much sunscreen should I apply?

Sunscreen needs to be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow enough time for the ingredients to bind to the skin. An average sized adult should apply approximately 2 teaspoonful to the face and neck, arms, shoulders and torso, legs and top of the feet. Sunscreen should be reapplied at least every two hours or immediately after swimming, toweling off or sweating heavily.

Is sunscreen "toxic" or carcinogenic?

In Canada, all sunscreens have passed a review by Health Canada and are given a drug identification number (DIN). Reviews of studies of a number of common sunscreen ingredients have not shown that those ingredients, including oxybenzone (benzophenone-3), pose health risks .

Can I use sunscreen after the expiry date?

We recommend you not to. The chemicals in the sunscreens will break down over time and reduce the effectiveness, especially if they are kept in a warm environment.

Do I need sunscreen on cloudy days?

Oh Yes! On a cloudy day up to 50% of UV rays can still reach you.

Do I need sunscreen if I am traveling somewhere cold?

Yes, up to 80% of the sun's rays are reflected by snow, so winter sports enthusiasts should take extra precautions.

Why is sun protection important during childhood?

Excessive exposure to the sun during childhood is a significant risk factor for future skin cancer. It's been estimated that 25% to 50% of lifetime sun exposure occurs before the age of 21. Use of sunscreen over the long term is estimated to reduce incidence of skin cancer by 50% to 75%

Does wearing sunscreen lead to vitamin D deficiency?

You do not need to expose yourself to the sun during peak UV times to get enough vitamin D. Most people get enough vitamin D through normal activity, even with sun protection. Vitamin D can be safely and easily obtained from a healthy diet that includes foods naturally rich in vitamin D, foods and beverages fortified with vitamin D, and vitamin D supplements.


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