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6 things you should know about sunscreen
In honour of Sun Awareness Week (which should be every week, tbh), we’ve rounded up everything you need to know to practise safe sun this summer.
Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays.
If you read the ELLE Canada beauty section (ahem), we’re hoping you already know this. But here’s a quick refresher. UVB rays are shorter and damage the upper layers of skin, causing burns. UVA rays are aging; they increase the presence of free radicals on the skin and can break down skin cells, collagen synthesis and DNA. Both cause skin cancer.
You need to reply sunscreen every two hours.
Especially if you’re using sunscreens with chemical filters. (Note: chemical filters absorb sun’s rays whereas physical blockers such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide bounce them back). “Chemical filters are activated under the sunrays and once they take all the energy of the sunrays like sponges, they are full. So you have to reapply,” says Anik Kerr-Denis, Vichy’s scientific relations expert.
There’s no such thing as waterproof sunscreen.
At least you can’t label sunscreens that way. New Health Canada guidelines means companies can only label sunscreens as water resistant if they pass rigorous testing.
You’re probably not using enough sunscreen.
According to dermatologist Dr. Frances Jang of Skinworks in Vancouver, most people only put on about a quarter to a half of the sunscreen they need. The face needs half a teaspoon and the body, a shot glass. “I usually tell people to put as much as they can on their face, rub it in then let it dry, then put another layer on top.”
Mists have to be rubbed in.
Spray and go? Don’t think so. “If you don’t blend in mists, they will not provide the same level of protection [as the bottle says],” says Kerr-Denis. “And if you don’t blend them in, you might miss some spots. I would recommend using a mist in reapplication.”
Try layering sunscreens.
If you have skin conditions like melasma, try layering a physical blocker over a chemical blocker for extra protection, suggests Dr. Jang.