How Sunscreen Can Save Your Skin
Education and Advocacy Robert Lavoie remembers his mother tanning outside, covered in oil and holding a reflective aluminum board.
hile this practice used to be the norm, the President of Dermtek Pharma says that with our growing understanding of how UV rays harm the skin, the dawn of a new era of sun protection is upon us.
“Effective urban sunscreen is vital in today’s world,” says Lavoie. And, according to dermatologist Dr. Julia Carroll, it is and should be used daily. “If you can see your hand in front of your face, there’s enough sun that you should have sunscreen on — so really, every day,” says Dr. Carroll.
The sun’s wrath
Not only can the sun cause painful burns, but chronic exposure can also make skin look older due to thinning, pigmentation, and wrinkles, explains
Dr. Carroll. The sun’s UV rays are also the cause of 9 out of 10 cases of melanoma, according to the Canadian Cancer Society, which describes the disease as one of the most preventable forms of cancer.
An SPF 30 or higher broad-spectrum sunscreen is the best way to prevent damage, says Dr. Carroll. “You only have one set of skin, and you need to look after it.”
Since UV rays can travel through glass, experts say sunscreen is just as important in buildings as it is on the beach.
“We know what sun does to furniture through windows, it fades with time,” explains Lavoie. “The skin is subjected to the same treatment.”
Commuting in the car or working in an office still offer the opportunity for sunshine, meaning that even city-dwellers need sunscreen.
“There’s cumulative damage that’s always happening,” says Dr. Carroll, “So, if you’re only wearing sunscreen when you’re on the beach or playing sports, you’re missing the majority of time that your skin is actually exposed to the sun.”