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.
- 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.
- 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!