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Protection from the Sun

Why the need for sun protection

Prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays may cause side effects over the short and long term. The most obvious effects are sunburns, which can be mild to severe. Yet, overexposure to the sun can also cause wrinkles or premature aging of the skin. There can also be other more serious chronic effects such as skin cancer, cataracts, etc. There are two types of UV rays that are dangerous to skin:
• UVA: wrinkles and premature aging of the skin
• UVB: skin cancer (white or brown rough lesions)
Remember that the sun’s rays are more intense at the beach and at higher altitudes and may require more intense protection.

How much sunscreen to apply

A certain amount of sunscreen must be applied for it to be effective. If you use less, you reduce the effectiveness of the Solar Protection Factor (SPF).

Type of sunscreen

Choose sunscreen with at least SPF 30 with a broad spectrum (from 6 months of age)

Proper use of sunscreen

  • Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure
  • Re-apply every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating
  • Even when wearing sunscreen, it is encouraged to wear a hat and sunglasses
  • Seek shade during peak hours (between 11 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.)

Medication and heat

Some medications or classes of medication can make your skin more sensitive to UV rays or adversely affect your body’s cooling system.
Check with your Pharmacist about the precautions you need to take if you are taking the following medications:

If you were prescribed one of the medications listed above, there are certain measures you can take to protect your skin:

  • Apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30
  • Wear protective clothing, a hat and sunglasses
  • Avoid direct sun exposure between 11 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Use of sunscreen and insect repellent

sunscreen can be used simultaneously with an insect repellent.However, you need to observe the following rules:

  • Apply the sunscreen first, then wait 20 minutes before applying the insect repellent
  • Apply a small quantity of insect repellent only on the exposed parts of your body
  • Spray insect repellent on clothing (be careful about certain types of fabric)
  • If you are using a spray sunscreen or insect repellant, make sure to do so in a well-ventilated area
  • Wash any skin that has been in contact with insect repellent with soap and water as soon as protection is no longer required.

Heat-related illnesses

If you stay too long in the sun, you run the risk of getting heat stroke or a sun-related illness

Source: Public Health Agency of Canada
Source: Canadian Paediatric Society
Source: Canadian Cancer Society
The information provided is for personal use, reference and education only and is not intended to be a substitute for a Physician’s advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your healthcare professional for specific information on personal health matters.