Your Skin in the Sun

  • Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can lead to: sunburns, skin damage, wrinkles and skin cancer.
  • Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Canada, and rates are increasing.
  • Skin cancer can be prevented.

Six Things to Know About Sunscreen

  1. Read the label and try it out. Choose a sunscreen that is labelled sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher, ‘broad spectrum’ [ultraviolet-A (UVA) and ultraviolet-B (UVB) protection], and ‘water resistant’. Use a sunscreen that you like and find easy to use.
  2. Remember to use sunscreen. Use sunscreen when the sun’s ultraviolet rays are at their strongest, such as when the Ultraviolet Index is three or higher, usually from 11 am to 3 pm. Apply sunscreen before other skin products. Re-apply sunscreen regularly, especially after sweating, swimming, or towelling.
  3. Are you wearing enough sunscreen? Most adults need two to three tablespoons of sunscreen to cover their body; one teaspoon of sunscreen to cover their face and neck.
  4. No sunscreen provides 100% protection. Use sunscreen with other sun protection measures such as limiting time in the sun, seeking shade, wearing protective clothing and a hat, and wearing sunglasses.
  5. Sunscreen is safe to use. Health Canada regulates the safety, effectiveness, and quality of sunscreens in Canada. No published studies have shown that sunscreen is toxic to humans or hazardous to human health. Sunscreen may be used on babies over six months; avoid the mouth and eye areas.
  6. Apply sunscreen on skin that is not covered by clothes or a hat. Don’t forget your face, neck, ears, and the back of your hands and feet. Use sunscreen lip balm to protect your lips.

Things to Avoid

  • Getting a tan or a sunburn.
  • Exposing yourself to ultraviolet rays to meet vitamin D needs. Use food or supplements instead.

Reproduced with permission from the Ontario Sun Safety Working Group, 2017.