There may not have been much of a need for sunscreen in the St. John’s area in recent days, but there’s still a long summer ahead and the province’s pharmacists are reminding Newfoundlanders and Labradorians about the importance of sun safety, selecting the right sunscreen and correctly applying it.
“Most people know they should wear sunscreen,” community pharmacist, Kelda Newport noted in a release from the Pharmacists’ Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL), “but many become overwhelmed when trying to select the right product.”
SPF on a sunscreen stands for sun protection factor, with refers to the amount of time it takes for skin damage to occur without protection and how long it would take if the appropriate amount of sunscreen is applied. An SPF 30, for example, protects skin 30 times long as compared to not using any sunscreen at all.
The higher the SPF, the more UVB rays that are blocked. No sunscreen offers 100 per cent protection.
PANL also recommends that sunscreen is used in conjunction with other protection from the sun such as hats, clothing, sunglasses. It also suggests avoiding sun exposure when UV rays are strongest, generally between 10 a.m and 4 p.m.
Tips for selecting the right sunscreen:
• Start by looking for one with the Canadian Dermatology Association (CDA) approval
• Look for a broad-spectrum product — one that protects for UVA and UVB rays
• Look for a product with 30 SPF or higher
• For activities in the water or that cause sweating, use a water-resistant product.
• The product should be non-comedogenic, non-irritating and hypo-allergenic. • Avoid products with PABA if allergic or have sensitivities
• Check the expiry date
Tips for applying sunscreen to maximize benefit:
• Apply generously to exposed skin. The average adult needs two to three tablespoonfuls to cover their entire body and a teaspoonful to cover the face
• Don’t forget the ears, neck, nose, bald spots, backs of hands and tops of feet. Use lip balm to protect the lips and reapply at least every hour
• Put sunscreen on first and then apply makeup or insect repellent
• Do not spray aerosol or pump products directly on to the face — spray on hands and apply. Be careful applying around the eyes and mouth
• Apply 20 to 30 minutes before sun exposure
• Reapply after about 40 minutes of swimming or sweating