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The best way to protect yourself from damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation is to cover up, limit your exposure at key times, seek shade, and cover any unprotected areas of the skin with sunscreen.
For effective sunscreen use:
- Use a sunscreen that has a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher, is labelled ‘broad spectrum’ (UVA & UVB protection) and ‘water-resistant’.
- Apply sunscreen to areas of skin that are not covered by clothing. Don’t forget to cover the neck, nose, tops of feet, ears and cheeks and use lip balm containing SPF of 15 or higher.
- Ensure that you apply plenty of sunscreen. For an adult this is about 2 to 3 tablespoons to cover the body and 1 teaspoon for the face and neck.
- Apply sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every 2 hours or according to the product’s directions. You may have to reapply more often if swimming, sweating, or toweling off.
- If you’re applying more than one protective substance on your skin, such as insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first and wait before applying the second substance.
- Be sure to apply sunscreen on cloudy days and in the winter months. UV radiation can still travel through clouds and is reflected by the snow.
Sunscreen regulated by Health Canada is considered safe to be used on babies over the age of 6 months but it is important to avoid their mouth and eye areas and keep them out of direct sunlight.
Remember, no sunscreen provides 100% protection against UV radiation. Using additional protections such as sunglasses, clothing, hats, and shade should be the first choice.