Sunscreen

Patricia Lambie

Sun protection is required no matter what the weather is. Damage from UV light occurs under cloudy conditions, and even under an umbrella.
 
Did you know that skin-damaging rays from sidewalks and reflective surfaces can reach you even under shade?
 
The best prevention of visible premature aging is sunscreen protection from sunlight. It takes little time for a sunburn to develop, damaging your skin to reduce suppleness, and allow wrinkles to appear. Repeated and frequent unprotected sun exposure will set those wrinkles quite nicely.
 
Other aging effects of the skin which speeds up with repeated and unprotected sun exposure include sunspots or liver spots, solar lentigines and hyperpigmentation. But there is good news, you can enjoy the sun and be outdoors – just practice safe sun exposure.
 
Skin protection is required for everyone. Anyone over the age of 6 months should wear sunscreen before going outdoors. Sunscreen should be applied liberally to all exposed skin, 30 minutes prior to going outside for proper skin penetration and optimal protection. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours.
 
To protect areas where you can’t apply sunscreen, wear a wide-brimmed hat, tight-knit clothing, and sunglasses. When possible, avoid direct sunlight between 10 am and 2 pm even if you have sunscreen protection.
 
If avoiding the hot sun is not possible, drink lots of water to stay hydrated and reapply sunscreen more frequently if you are sweating. Keep infants and toddlers under large shade and avoid prolonged outdoor sunlight exposure.
 

What Is The Best Sunscreen?

Use a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 which protects you from both UVA and UVB light and is referred to as “broad-spectrum”. You want a product that does not irritate the skin, plug pores, and is unscented. Sunscreens that are “lighter” use ingredients that need time to penetrate the skin and act to disperse dangerous UV rays.
 
Heavier products have the benefit of higher SPF protection and stay on longer, and are good for water sports and high activity, but may leave a residue or are visibly white on the skin. Products that may leave residue can also be skin colored and used as a foundation on the skin to even skin tone.
 
Combination products are just as you think, they offer benefits of both the light and heavier products – trying to straddle the middle ground of cosmetic appeal, added protection, and versatility. Selecting the best one for you doesn’t require trial and error. Your pharmacist can help you choose a product that will meet the needs of your entire family or any unique needs.
 
If you choose a sunscreen that is sprayed on, areas are easily missed. A proper layer of protection can’t be achieved unless you spray and spread the sunscreen to cover the skin sufficiently. Have a second sunscreen handy, as it is difficult to determine how much product remains in aerosol sprays.
 
Higher protection may be required if you have sensitive skin, or are on medications that make you sun sensitive. For some medications, exposure to the sun can cause severe burns and may be life-threatening.
 
Certain diuretics, diabetic medications, and antibiotic medications require avoidance of sun exposure while on them and for a period of time after you are done taking the medication. Check-in with your pharmacist to see if this applies to you.
 
What about your face?
 
Formulations specific for the face can be easier to apply, are less irritating, and sit better under makeup. However, you can certainly apply body lotion sunscreens to the face and lighten your packing. There are also many products available which are formulated for both face and body. With all products make sure to avoid application near the eyes, applying no closer than your eyebrows.
 
Use sunglasses to protect your eyes and the area around them. Make sure to dry sweat on the face, especially your forehead so it doesn’t bring sunscreen into your eyes and cause irritation or stinging. At home, place your sunscreen beside your bathroom sink, next to your toothbrush – make it a habit in your daily routine.
 
Your pharmacist can help you choose a sunscreen and enjoy every sun-filled day.

Patricia Lambie
Elrose PharmaChoice
Elrose, SK
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