The Importance of Sunscreen during Summer

Posted by on Jul 8, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on The Importance of Sunscreen during Summer



Did you know that most skin aging occurs during the summer? Consistent application of sun protection, regular professional facials, and a good home skin care routine are your best defenses against sun damage.

There are two types of ultraviolet (UV) rays found in sunlight – UVA and UVB. UVB rays remain on the surface of your skin, causing it to tan and burn, while UVA rays penetrate deeper into the dermis and collagen fibers, and therefore cause more long-term effects, like premature aging, wrinkles, brown spots and skin cancer. Both types of UV radiation lead to an increased risk of developing skin cancer, which is now the most common type of cancer. 77,000 cases of skin cancer in Canada are reported each year. If you looked at sunburned skin under a microscope, you would see damaged cells and blood vessels. Your skin remembers all its sun damage, which accumulates over time. Children are the most vulnerable, as 80% of skin damage occurs before the age of 18.

SPF only indicates the protection level against UVB rays – the capacity to protect against sunburn. When shopping for sunscreen, always look for broad spectrum UVA-UVB on the packaging to make sure you are protected from both types of rays. The minimum protection factor recommended is SPF 30. Ensure that your sunscreen is not expired – they typically have a shelf life of 3 years.

80% of UV rays pass through clouds, 85% of UVA rays pass through glass, and 70% through windows. You can minimize sun damage by always applying sunscreen in the morning before leaving the house. Make it a habit for you and your family, and remember sunscreen needs 15-30 minutes to absorb into the skin. Avoid going outside when the sun is strongest, between 10 AM and 3 PM. Remember to re-apply sunscreen if you have been sweating or in the water.

If you are sunburned, take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or aspirin – this will stop inflammation and also ease redness and pain. If you’ve been lounging by the pool or beach, take a cool shower as soon as you get home. The cool water will soothe your burn and rinse off any chlorine or salt on your skin, which can further dry out your sunburned skin. A rich moisturizer will soothe your skin and help prevent peeling.

Finally, some important items to help protect you from the sun are a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses that filter UV light, and an umbrella. Don’t forget the sunscreen!