Protect Your Skin from Photoaging

Protecting your skin from the photoaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays involves three easy steps: sunscreen, sun avoidance, and protective clothing.


  • The ideal sunscreen should:

             - have an SPF of at least 30
             - be broad spectrum to protect against UVA and UVB
             - be non-irritating, oil-free, and hypo-allergenic.

  • Apply sunscreen to all sun exposed areas, particularly the face, ears, neck, and hands.
  • Lips are very prone to photoaging, so apply a lip balm with SPF 30.
  • Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going into the sun.
  • Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours, or after swimming, sweating, or towelling-off.
  • Use the “teaspoon rule” to make sure you are applying enough sunscreen:

             - ½ - 1 teaspoon on face and neck
             - 1 - 1.5 teaspoons on arms, shoulders, and torso
             - 2-2.5 teaspoons on legs and top of feet.

  • If also using insect repellent, apply sunscreen first, then apply the insect repellent after waiting 20 minutes.

Sun avoidance

  • Avoid sun exposure from 10 am to 4 pm when UV radiation is strongest.
  • Protect yourself from direct sunlight by seeking shaded areas, such as under trees and umbrellas.
  • Avoid use of indoor tanning beds.
  • Refer to Environment Canada’s UV Index reports daily and take appropriate precautions on days when the UV index is greater than 3.

Protective clothing

  • Wear broad-brimmed (5 inch) hats to protect your face and neck.
  • Prevent skin damage by wearing clothing that covers sun exposed areas, such as long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Sunglasses should also be worn to protect your eyes from sun damage.

For more information on protecting yourself from photoaging, speak to your pharmacist!

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