Dr. Anatoli Freiman is chair of the Canadian Dermatology Association Sun Protection Program and shares his expertise in the Toronto Star this week discussing sunscreens. Click here to read the article!
Everyone knows sunscreen protects against sunburn and skin cancer, but choosing the right product can be confusing. It’s important that a sunscreen is labelled “broad spectrum,” meaning it protects against both ultraviolet A and B rays. Both types contribute to the development of skin cancer.
Sun Protection Factor (SPF) relates only to the sunscreen’s power against UVB. Dermatologists generally recommend a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Whether the sunscreen is a cream, lotion or spray doesn’t matter as along as it’s applied appropriately. That means using at least 30 mL, about an ounce (shot glass size), to cover the body. Apply 15 minutes before sun exposure and repeat every two hours, or more frequently if you’re sweating or swimming. Many moisturizers and makeup foundations now contain sunscreen. While they are better than nothing, they usually have only an SPF 15, which is not sufficient. And don’t forget to use a lip balm with sun protection. We’re seeing a lot of patients with sun-damaged lips.