All About Sun Protection

One of the most common skincare myths is that sunscreen is only necessary in the summertime. This is absolutely false! Sunscreen is necessary every single day. The sun’s UV rays can reach our skin even on cloudy days and even in the winter. In fact, wearing sunscreen is so important we made it our #1 skincare resolution! Here is everything you need to know about sun protection to keep your skin safe and healthy.

What are UVA/UVB rays?

The sun emits ultraviolet radiation at all times. UVA rays cause skin ageing, wrinkling, brown spots, and skin cancer, and can pass through clouds. UVB rays cause sunburn and skin cancer, but cannot penetrate clouds or glass.

What is sunscreen?

Sunscreen is a barrier that protects the skin from UVA and UVB sun rays, and usually comes in cream, spray, or powder form. Sunscreens do this with either mineral or chemical components that reflect or absorb the sun’s rays, respectively. Many products come with sun protection integrated, such as moisturizers, lip balms, and more. This makes it easy to integrate sun protection into your daily skincare routine. However, if you have to choose one single product to put on your skin daily, it should be sunscreen!

What type of sunscreen should you choose?

There are different types of sunscreen, that suit your skin and your skincare regimen:

1) Physical sunscreens contain mineral ingredients that sit on the skin and deflect the sun’s rays. When buying this type of sunscreen, look for protection with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Physical sunscreen is also less likely to irritate the skin, and is safe for use on babies and during pregnancy. One thing to be aware of is that it may rub or rinse off more easily than a chemical sunscreen, so re-application is extra important.

2) Chemical sunscreens use chemical compounds that permeate the skin, absorb the sun’s rays, and release them as heat. This type tends to be thinner and easier to apply, as well as more effective with less product. One important aspect is that protection only begins about 20 minutes after application.

Another aspect to pay attention to is the SPF (Sun Protection Factor). The number indicates how long the sun’s radiation would take to burn the skin with the product (applied exactly as directed) versus the amount of time without any protection. In other words, SPF 30 would take 30 times as long to redden the skin, while SPF 50 would take 50 times as long.

Sunscreen best practices

1) When shopping for sunscreen, look for products with broad spectrum protection that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

2) While sunscreen is an effective method of sun protection, it is also important to wear skin-covering clothing like long sleeves, hats, and sunglasses, and to avoid the sun during peak hours (10am-2pm).

3) All skin types require sunscreen. White people are more at risk of skin cancer because they don’t have as much melanin, but darker skin types still need protection.

4) Do not use tanning beds! These devices are very UVA focused, a balance which is very damaging to the skin.

5) According to Health Canada, start using sun protection on babies as of six months old. Use physical sunscreen for children.

6) Re-apply every two to three hours.

7) Treat sun damage ASAP! After the summer (the most intense period of sun damage for most) consider consulting a skincare expert at MunkMD and treating any existing sun damage to maintain your skin’s health and glow.

If you want advice on which sunscreen to use, want to address sun damage, or just want to learn more about your skin, schedule a consultation with our skincare experts at MunkMD!

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