Skin Health

Sunscreen

Exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays can lead to sunburns, skin damage, wrinkles and skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Canada, and rates are increasing. Enjoy the sun safely by following the Ontario Sun Safety Working Group's recommendations on sun safety and using sunscreen.

Six Things to Know About Sunscreen

  1. No sunscreen provides 100% protection
    • Use sunscreen with other sun protection measures such as limiting time in the sun, seeking shade, wearing protective clothing and a hat, and wearing sunglasses.

  2. Sunscreen is safe to use
    • Health Canada regulates the safety, effectiveness, and quality of sunscreens in Canada. No published studies have shown that sunscreen is toxic to humans or hazardous to human health. Sunscreen may be used on babies over six months; avoid the mouth and eye areas.

  3. Apply sunscreen on skin that is not covered by clothes or a hat
    • Don't forget your face, neck, ears, and the back of your hands and feet. Use sunscreen lip balm to protect your lips.

  4. Read the label and try it out
    • Choose a sunscreen that is labelled SPF 30 or higher, "broad spectrum" (UVA and UVB protection), and "water resistant". Use a sunscreen that you like and find easy to use.

  5. Remember to use sunscreen
    • Use sunscreen when the sun’s UV rays are at their strongest, such as when the UV Index is 3 or higher, usually from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Apply sunscreen before other skin products. Re-apply sunscreen regularly, especially after sweating, swimming, or towelling.

  6. Are you wearing enough sunscreen? 
    • Most adults need 2 to 3 tablespoons of sunscreen to cover their body; 1 teaspoon of sunscreen to cover their face and neck.

Things to Avoid

  • Getting a tan or a sunburn.
  • Exposing yourself to UV rays to meet vitamin D needs. Use food or supplements instead.

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