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Tips for Sun Protection

Summers in Vancouver have always been beautiful but the strong sun and high temperature can cause a lot of damage on your skin. It’s important to know how to protect yourself and your family against UV while doing all the summer fun activities.

There are 3 types of UV lights:

UVA (320-400nm): The wavelength that accounts for the largest proportion of ultraviolet rays that reach the earth and is irradiated all day long. It can penetrate glass and clothing, and reach deep into the dermis of the skin, causing skin aging, sunburn, skin cancer, etc.

UVB (290-320nm): The main culprit of sunburn, which can also lead to skin aging, skin cancer and more, is usually strongest between 10am and 4pm.

UVC (270-290nm): Almost all of it is absorbed by the ozone layer and does not reach the earth's surface.

How to choose sun protection products

There are so many sunscreens on the market, how do you choose one? Every sunscreen product usually lists its ingredients on the bottle, which are mainly divided into two types: physical sunscreen and chemical sunscreen ingredients.

The most common physical sunscreen ingredients are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which can form a barrier to directly reflect ultraviolet rays; they are less irritating to the skin, but they are thicker and oilier when rubbed. There are more than ten kinds of chemical sunscreen ingredients, which absorb ultraviolet rays. Although it is relatively refreshing, it is also more likely to cause allergies.

Various chemical sunscreen ingredients can prevent different wavelengths of ultraviolet rays: some only protect against UVB, while others protect against UVB and some UVA... Therefore, most products contain multiple sunscreen ingredients to achieve the best effect. It is recommended that you check whether the sunscreen label is marked with "Broad-spectrum" (broad-spectrum, that is, UVA and UVB protection at the same time), preventing sunburn (UVB) and dark spots or skin lesions (UVA).

Because children's skin is more sensitive, products with a higher proportion of physical sunscreen ingredients are relatively safe. In addition, some drugs can make the skin particularly sensitive to UVA rays (photosensitivity), such as quinolone antibiotics or sulfa drugs (including the common diuretic and antihypertensive drug hydrochlorothiazide), etc... If you usually take these drugs, the broad-spectrum effect Sunscreen is your best choice. Just looking at SPF is not enough!

Steps for proper sun protection

15-30 minutes before going out during the day, apply a broad-spectrum, SPF30 or above sunscreen on the face, neck, hands, feet, etc. Good sun protection effect.

Apply a decent amount of sunscreen, adults need about 30 grams each time. Reapplication is also required after sweating or swimming. Sunscreen is not suitable for babies under six months old. Instead, use umbrellas, clothing, hats and other items to help prevent sun protection. If there are mosquitoes in the place where you go out, you should apply the sunscreen first, make sure it is absorbed into the skin, and then spray the mosquito repellent.

With proper sun protection, the whole family can enjoy the beauty of Vancouver’s summer without any worries!

Kleiman, N. Prevention and Treatment of Sun-Induced Skin Damage. Patient Self-Care, 2nd ed. Nov. 2012.

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