Getting the Most From Your Sunscreen
Are you an outdoor sports enthusiast?
Protect yourself adequately against ultraviolet rays!
Are you heading outdoors to go running, swimming, fishing, skiing or to play golf or volleyball? Remember to adequately protect yourself against UVA and UVB rays. You will lessen the risk of getting painful sunburn and causing deep layer skin damage linked to UVAs.
Why should you protect your skin?
It’s a known fact: UVA and UVB rays are harmful as they cause significant oxidative stress which can ultimately affect skin cells’ DNA. This may result in major damage to your health and skin, including:
- Premature skin aging (fines lines, wrinkles and brown spots)
- Skin photosensitivity
- Sun allergy
- Skin cancer (melanoma)
Do you know what to look for in a sunscreen?
When exercising outdoors, it’s important to choose the right sunscreen. Look for the words “broad spectrum” and – above all – the UVA logo. This logo indicates that the sunscreen blocks UVAs (95% of the harmful rays that affect the skin) and meets Health Canada’s minimum standards for good skin protection, a must for outdoor activities. Another must is a sunscreen that is water and sweat resistant for at least 40 minutes. Many brands offer products that meet this requirement. Some can even be applied to wet skin. This is particularly useful for water sports enthusiasts (e.g. swimming, water polo, diving, rowing, water skiing, surfing, etc.).
Important reminder: the Canadian Dermatology Association (CDA) recommends that everyone – not just sports enthusiasts – choose a product with an SPFof at least 30.
When and how should you apply sunscreen?
To be effective, sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes before going outside. An average-sized adult needs about 35 ml of cream or lotion to cover the body and face. To guide you in the application of your sunscreen you can refer to the teaspoon rule. And remember these often forgotten spots: nose, back of neck, ears, hands, and feet.
Reapplying sunscreen is important, too! In fact, you should reapply it at least every two hours, regardless of the SPF number, and always after swimming. The SPF number is NOT a measure of time, and no product protects all day. Stay safe!
Does sunscreen provide enough protection?
No, it doesn’t. In fact, healthcare professionals recommend that everyone – including sports enthusiasts – take several other precautions to protect themselves from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays.
In a nutshell:
- Wear a cap, a wide headband, a scarf or a hat.
- Wear sunglasses.
- Wear loose-fitting, tightly woven clothing (many manufacturers now offer clothing with SPF) that covers most of your skin.
- Avoid going outside between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when UV rays are particularly strong.
- Drink water regularly to keep your body well hydrated.
If possible, take breaks in the shade, under a tree, a shelter or an umbrella. This will help you avoid heatstroke.
The pharmacy services presented in this section are offered by pharmacist owners who are affiliated with Uniprix. The pharmacists are solely responsible for the professional activities carried out during the practice of pharmacy. These services are offered in participating pharmacies only. Certain fees and conditions may apply.
* The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.