Spring… and the sun!
Spring melts the snow and brings us renewed luminosity, as well as the gentle caressing warmth of the sun. Every year, many of us enjoy the sun's rays, some of us without worrying about their potential harmful effects on the skin.
These springtime sunrays often make us want to soak up some sun before summer arrives. Contrary to what one might think, it is just as dangerous for the skin as it is during the months of July or August. Since our skin is less exposed during the winter, it requires a gradual exposure, and especially a very cautious exposure to the sun's rays. Otherwise, it may make you pay the price, such as a sunburn that flames up like your carefree enthusiasm.
In small doses, the sun’s rays play a beneficial role on mood and help the production of vitamin D, which is essential to bone health. However, exposure to the sun, in fact, carries risks and requires protective measures regardless of the season.
The sun's rays and sun protection factor
The sun's ultraviolet rays mainly consist of UVB and UVA rays. UVB rays are responsible for sunburns, the most common immediate adverse effects of sun exposure. As for UVA rays, they lead to aging of the skin. Both types of UV rays are involved in the development of skin cancer. Sun protection is essential to prevent these unwanted effects.
A sunscreen's protection factor is a measure of its effectiveness. This indication estimates the product's protection factor against UVB rays and, thus, against sunburns. The protection factor follows the term "SPF" (sun protection factor) on product labels.
Some practical advice
Here is some advice to protect your skin against UV rays:
- Wear a large-brimmed hat and sunglasses
- Decrease sun exposure during the time when the sun's rays are at their strongest; that is, between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
- Wear clothes that cover as much of the body as possible
- Stay in the shade as often as possible
- Ask your pharmacist if the medication you take could make your skin more sensitive to the sun's effects
How to get the most out of your sunscreen
There are simple ways to maximize the benefits of your sunscreen:
- From the beginning of spring, use proper suns protection that can simply be applied over your moisturizing cream.
- Apply a generous coat of sunscreen before going out into the sun. Keep in mind that two coats are better than one!
- Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going out into the sun.
- Use a sunscreen that has a high SPF (at least 30).
- Make sure to cover all the areas of the body that will be exposed to the sun (ears, nape of the neck, feet, back of the knees, etc.).
- Repeat application every two hours, especially after swimming or excessive sweating, even when using a waterproof formulation.
Choose a texture (cream, gel, milk or spray) adapted to your needs and preferences. We tend to reapply a product with a texture that we like more often. A few precautions and the use of an adequate sunscreen will allow you to enjoy these sunny with your partner, friends or family! You will also safely fill up on vitamin D!
Speak to your pharmacist for additional information about sun protection and the products available.