Wear sunscreen the right way

A woman putting on sunscreen.
Photo by asiandelight/Shutterstock

Not all sunscreens were created equal. According to an article published by Memorial Sloan Kettering, it’s extremely important that you pay attention to the bottle’s label. An estimated 90 percent of the Canada’s 3.5 million cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year are caused by the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.

The SPF level on the packaging refers to the sun protection factor and dictates the amount of time that you can stay in the sun without burning. If you’re fair-skinned and tend to burn after 15 minutes, you’ll need SPF 30. The article suggests that in theory SPF 30 would give you seven and a half hours of sun protection with the assumption that the lotion was applied correctly and reapplied after swimming or sweating.

If you’re planning on spending more time outdoors, then you should consider an SPF of 50 with water resistance. It’s also imperative to apply generously. The ideal amount for the average adult is 2 milligrams of sunscreen per square centimetre of skin. This translates into about 3 tablespoons to cover the back, torso, face, legs, and arms.

Putting sunscreen on once you’re already outside isn’t as effective as putting it on 30 minutes prior to being out in the sun. If you’re wearing a bathing suit, it’s helpful to put the sunscreen on before getting into your swimsuit—that way you’ll avoid unsightly tan lines and burns in areas you may have missed.

Research suggests that children who have gotten a sunburn at an early age are at about double the risk of developing melanoma in adulthood. So, if you’re taking care of the grandkids this weekend, make sure to apply a lot of sunscreen before stepping outside and to reapply often.

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