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  • Coralee Shaman LPN

Here comes the sun: Are you ready?

Spring is officially here! The grass is green, and today was a bright, sunny day. No one loves fun in the sun more than me, but I never go without sunscreen. After years of helping people undo sun damage, I have seen how it prematurely ages sun worshippers. 

Unfortunately, cosmetic injectables will not prevent or erase sun damage. Ultraviolet rays damage elastin. As the UV penetrates the skin, we start to lose elasticity; over time, that loss causes wrinkles, sun spots and saggy skin. More importantly, we also put ourselves at risk for skin cancer.

That’s why it's essential to get in the habit of wearing sunscreen every day, even in winter.

You should wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen that will protect you against both UVA and UVB rays. While there’s some controversy about whether a product with a sun protection factor (SPF) higher than 15 really offers more protection, I recommend going with a high SPF. Most experts say that an SPF 15 sunscreen blocks 93 percent of UVB radiation, and an SPF 50 blocks out 98 percent. I don’t want to gamble with my skin, so I’ll take all the protection I can get.

My favourite sunscreen is SkinCeuticals’ Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50. It is a weightless fluid that combines 100 percent mineral filters with translucent colour spheres for effective broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection and an even, radiant finish. This high-protection zinc oxide sunscreen also contains artemia salina, a plankton extract known to increase skin’s resistance to UV- and heat-induced stress.

I prefer the mineral sunscreens because they create a physical barrier between your skin and the sun as opposed to the chemical-based ones with ingredients such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, and octocrylene that absorb UV radiation and dissipate the harmful effects. Your skin can take up to 30 minutes to absorb chemical sunscreens, so apply before you go outside. You’ll also want to wear an SPF lip balm or lipstick to protect your lips.

If you’re out in the sun, you should reapply your sunscreen every two hours, especially if you’re swimming or doing another form of exercise. I also try to limit my time in the sun between 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. That’s when the sun’s rays are most intense.

I also recommend wearing sunglasses. That will protect the delicate skin around your eyes and help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. When you’re shopping for shades, make sure you select sunglasses that offer 100 percent or total UV protection.

Lastly, don’t forget about your neck, décolletage and any other exposed body parts. Did you know that your décolletage is more delicate than your face because it produces less oil? It’s often the first place to show signs of aging. Never skimp on sunscreen on your neck and décolletage.

If you're still not convinced that a powerful sunscreen is an essential part of your daily health and beauty routine, check out the photograph of a 69-year-old man who drove a delivery truck for 28 years. You can clearly see damaged skin on the left side of his face, where sun shone in through his window.


Please give me a call to discuss more ways that you can protect your skin and reverse sun damage.

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