Sun Preparations

If there is something that all Canadians need more of, it would summer.  Summer is just a blink of the year, so enjoy every moment of this brief season.


But…, don’t forget to get your protection on.


It does mean you have to do some preparation.  Sunscreen should be worn 30 minutes before you go out.  For most of us, that means applying it as part of your morning routine (right after you wash your face).  Sunscreens need time to work in your skin and provide protection. It needs to be applied and allowed to work before anything else such as foundation, creams or make-up on your skin.  To make your skincare regimen easier, there are lotions, creams, and foundations that have sun protection.


How much protection should you use?  For daily use, SPF 30 is fine, but you may wish to have more protection if you expect to be outside longer or in direct sun.   Everyone should apply sunscreen to areas exposed to the sun, including children over 6 months of age. Sunscreens should also be reapplied every 2 hours, and even more frequently if you are sweating, playing, exercising or exposed to water.  


Why is it such a big deal?


We know for a certainty that sun exposure will damage your skin.  With repeated tanning, skin gets more wrinkled, changes texture loses elasticity, and gets discoloured.  Healthy skin is smooth, supple, and elastic. Sun damage weakens your skin and its underlying structure. Some will see this in the form of age spots or pigmentation spots that will not go away.  Spots that have irregular borders, bleed, ooze, are patchy, or scaly should be seen by a doctor, to rule out skin cancer. Existing moles, freckles or other pigmented spots that change in appearance should also be reviewed by your doctor.  Quickly catching skin cancer will allow better treatment outcomes. Unprotected sun exposure can also cause skin reactions, some require medical attention. Some medications can increase the severity of skin reactions with sun or UV light. Your pharmacist is knowledgeable of the medications that may be of concern – feel free to ask if yours is one.   


What else should you do?


The best way to avoid the risks of sun exposure is obviously to get out of the sun – but there are benefits of sunny weather.  It welcomes you to activity and socializing, important to health and wellbeing. So don’t avoid going outdoors – just prepare.

In addition to sunscreen:

  • Wear a hat (wide-brimmed, shadowing the neck and ears is best)
  • Wear tight-knit clothing or with UV rated protection over areas that don’t have sunscreen
  • Wear sunglasses with UV protection
  • Avoid being in direct sunlight between 10 am and 2 pm


Your Pharmachoice pharmacist can help you select sunscreen products and discuss ways to enjoy the summer fully!

Rob Heaton
Calgary, AB