Stay Safe in the Sun

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Whether you are in store for a beautiful weekend or the forecast shows some clouds rolling in, you should protect your skin from the sun's UV rays. Sunscreen filters out the sun's dangerous, invisible ultraviolet rays, which can cause skin cancer. Read on to get a grip on SPF and how to protect your skin with the right products…

Stay Safe in the Sun

Dermatologists advise to use sunscreen not only on warm, clear days, but also on sunny winter days, when it is cloudy. Skin needs protection any time it is exposed to daylight, not just when we think our chances of exposure are higher. Research shows that daily low-grade exposure to sunlight can be just as damaging as short and intense exposure. The proper application of sunscreen on a daily basis is as mandatory to skin health as proper cleansing.

Who should wear sunscreen?
Put simply: Everyone. However there are certain types that are even more in need of protection. The sun's UV rays can damage anyone's skin in as little as 15 minutes and skin of all colours can be harmed by those ultraviolet rays. Apart from those who spend a lot of time outdoors – for work or play – you are more likely to get skin cancer from exposure to the sun if you have one or more of the following: Lighter natural skin colour, skin that easily sunburns, freckles or gets red (or becomes painful from the sun), blue or green eyes, a family member who has had skin cancer.
Kids are among the most vulnerable, as reviewed by dermatologists that most people receive 50 per cent of their total lifetime sun exposure before the age of 18. So, it is more important than ever to educate kids and families about smart sun protection.

When to use sunscreen
You need protection from the sun even on slightly cloudy or cool days. For best results, you should apply sunscreen approximately 30 minutes before being in the sun so that it will be absorbed by the skin and less likely to wash off when you perspire. Before application, shake the bottle well to mix particles that might be clumped up in the container. For ease of use, consider using the spray-on or stick types of sunscreen.

Sunblock application basics
Use sun protection on all parts of your skin exposed to the sun, including the ears and back, shoulders. If blemishes or sensitive skin is an issue, special non-oil-based sunscreens are available for use on your face. Be sure to apply enough; as a rule of thumb, use an ounce (approximately a handful) to cover your entire body every couple of hours. Apply it thickly and thoroughly. Two trouble spots that do not work so well with suncreen: Your scalp and your eyelids. A hat and sunglasses will fit the bill there.
Keep in mind that sunscreen wears off. Put it on again if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours, and after you swim or do anything that makes you sweat.

Beyond sunscreen
Combine these sun-protective options to help protect your skin from damage in both the short and long terms:
• Seek some shade if outdoor activities are unavoidable during midday, when the UV rays are the strongest and do the most damage.
• When it is cloudy, remember that the sun's rays can still penetrate the clouds and harm your skin.
• Choose more than one way to cover up when you are in the sun. Wear a hat, throw on a T-shirt, grab your sunglasses and seek out some shade.

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