But as the days grow longer, the sun grows stronger. And no matter who you are or how tough you think your skin is, nobody is invincible when it comes to the sun’s radiation.
Let’s call it what it is – RADIATION!
The sun’s radiation causes changes in our cells at the DNA level. Health Canada recently passed a law prohibiting people under 18 from using tanning salons, and I think that’s a big warning to all of us.
So how do we protect ourselves?
Many people believe that the higher the number on their sunscreen the stronger it is. After decades of being told that SPF 30 is a total sunblock, some product manufacturers began to put higher SPF numbers on their sunscreens in an attempt to gain marketshare.
The fact is, though, that SPF30 is still a total block. Numbers over 30 are usually 45, 60, or 90, meaning that you need to reapply the product every 45, 60 or 90 minutes respectively for it to have maximum effectiveness. But if you read the instructions on the SPF30 products, you will find that you also need to reapply them every 45 to 90 minutes for maximum effectiveness. So the higher numbers on the new products are really only for marketing purposes.
There are a few common misconceptions about sunscreen use that everyone can use a reminder of:
1.Why do I need extra sunscreen when my moisturizer has it?
Facial moisturizers, generally speaking, have an SPF of 4 – 6. Not nearly enough.
2.I use SPF15 because I want to get some tan.
SPF15 will only block about 90% of the damaging rays, so you need to be sure to apply enough and regularly according to the manufacturer’s directions. Usually you’ll apply an amount equal to the size of a mature garden pea to your face.
3.I stocked up a few years ago so I’ll use up what I have.
Sunscreens have an EXPIRY DATE!!! After that date the product starts to degrade and loses all of its effectiveness within a short time.
4.I put on SPF 60 so I don’t have to put more on today.
A higher SPF number doesn’t mean you are protected all day with one application. It means you can go a little longer between applications.You still need to reapply regularly as long as you are getting sun exposure. Read the directions so you know when to do so.
5.I don’t need sunscreen because it’s cloudy.
WRONG! With the ever vanishing ozone layer, the sun’s rays are getting stronger, even on cloudy days. Scientific studies have shown evidence to support this.
6.I have darker coloring so I don’t need sunscreen like fairer people.
While darker skinned people don’t have as high rates of skin cancer, they are still prone, and they still get brown spots, dark raised moles and wrinkles. Sunscreen is the cheapest anti-wrinkle cream you’ll ever buy.
7.Sunscreen makes my skin break out.
In all the years I have been a skincare therapist problems with breakout from sunscreen were almost always traced back to using the wrong product. For example, using body sunscreen on the face, using all purpose drugstore sunscreen on the face instead of a facial sunscreen suited to your specific skin type and condition. Some people can use cheaper drugstore sunscreens without any problems, but if you are oily and prone to breakouts, you are very likely sensitive as well. I am one of those people so I can speak from personal experience.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to see a professional skin care therapist for an accurate assessment of your skin, and appropriate product recommendations.