06 Jul Think prevention! Protect your skin from the sun
Summer is finally here! We know what you’re thinking — it’s time to get outside and enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. But as the temperatures rise and the layers come off, it’s easy to forget how important it is to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. At Deerfields, we believe in prevention. Learning how to properly protect your skin can prevent skin cancer and lead to a more youthful appearance.
How can you protect your skin?
- Use sunscreen with SPF on your skin and lips
Come spring, many people are out of practice, or forget to apply sunscreen,” says Dr. Anatoli Freiman of Toronto Dermatology Centre. Dr. Freiman recommends “choosing a sunscreen labelled ‘broad spectrum’ to help block UVA and UVB rays.” He suggests using “a lotion with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, and consider some of the sport formulas if you’ll be active outdoors. If you’ve got sensitive skin, look for a formula designed for your specific needs.”
You’ll also want to protect your lips by using lip balm with SPF and re-applying it often. Be sure to apply both lip balm and sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes prior to going out in the sun. Apply sunscreen liberally — the Canadian Dermatology Association suggests using a palmful for each arm and leg. It’s also important to re-apply it regularly, especially after sweating or swimming. For more tips see this article by Dr. Freiman.
- Limit your time in the sun
The sun’s rays are the strongest in the middle of the day, between about 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Limiting your time in the sun — especially during these hours — can help prevent sunburns and skin cancers. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, “it is estimated that children and adolescents who get 5 or more sunburns have double the risk for melanoma later in life.” These findings are also supported by the Canadian Dermatology Association, which states that “about 90 per cent of melanomas are associated with severe UV exposure and sunburns over a lifetime.” The bottom line is that avoiding sunburns and limiting your sun exposure can help protect your skin from sunburns, as well as skin cancers.
- Cover up
Consider wearing lightweight clothing that protects you from the sun, such as long-sleeved shirts, full-length pants, or other clothing that protects your skin. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat can also help protect your face and neck from the sun. To provide consumers with a better sense as to the sun protection capabilities of clothing, the Canadian Dermatology Association has adopted the Sun Protection Evaluation Program (SPEP), which clothing manufacturers can use to rate the SPF values of their products.
- Wear sunglasses
Choose quality sunglasses labelled “100% UV protection.” Consider wrap-around sunglasses that block more rays from the periphery of the eye. They’ll also help protect this delicate skin from premature aging — the fine lines and wrinkles most of us are trying to avoid, hide, or repair.