It is time to be sun smart, and apply sunscreen. As you start to spend days relaxing in or around your pool and hot tub, the sun and its ultraviolet rays are penetrating the first and second layers your skin. In order to decrease the risk of skin cancer and early signs of aging, it is strongly recommended to apply sunscreen to exposed and covered skin.
Sun exposure comes in three varieties: UVB, short UVA and long UVA. In 2013, Health Canada released their updated “Sunscreen Monograph” to ensure all Canadians better understand the new labeling and dosage guidelines.
Here are some friendly reminders for your health and safety:
Limit time spent in the sun, especially during peak periods: 10:00am to 2:00pm. If you must spend time outdoors during peak periods, Health Canada recommends you wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a hat and sunglasses.
Apply sunscreen liberally, generously and evenly to your entire body 15 minutes before sun exposure. Sunscreen must be reapplied every 2 hours, to ensure continual efficacy. Remember, sun can penetrate through clothing. If you can see through fabric, so can the sun’s rays.
Even on overcast or hazy days, the sun is still shining. Be sure to protect your skin at all times by applying sunscreen before spending time outdoors.
If a sunscreen is marketed as “water resistant”, be sure to reapply after 40-80 minutes of swimming or sweat inducing activity. Also remember to apply sunscreen after towel drying or coming into contact with sand, as sunscreen does rub off.
Individuals using both a sunscreen and bug spray are reminded to apply sunscreen first, to ensure effectiveness.
Families with fair skin or a history of melanoma should visit a dermatologist annually. Photographs of your skin can be taken for year-over-year comparisons.
Finally, families with children under 6 months of age should consult with their health care practitioner prior to using any over-the-counter sunscreen products.