Think prevention! Protect your skin from sun damage

As the weather heats up and the layers come off, our skin is more vulnerable than ever — which brings me to the important subject of sun protection. Did you know that the skin is the largest organ in the human body? It is comprised of multiple layers of tissue and guards the underlying muscles, bones, ligaments and internal organs.

Taking a few steps to protect your skin on a daily basis can leave it looking more youthful and help prevent skin cancer.

1 – Sunscreen & Lip Protection:
“Come spring, many people are out of practice, or forget to apply sunscreen,” says Dr. Anatoli Freiman of Toronto Dermatology Centre who recommends “choosing a sunscreen labeled broad spectrum to help block UVA and UVB rays. “Buy a lotion with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, and consider some of the sport formulas if you’ll be active outdoors. If you’ve got sensitive skin, look for a formula designed for your specific needs,” he suggests. You’ll also want to protect your lips by using lip balm with SPF and re-applying it often.

Be sure to apply both lip balm and sunscreen 20-30 minutes prior to going in the sun. Apply sunscreen liberally — the Canadian Dermatology Association suggests a palm-full for each arm and leg. It’s also important to re-apply it regularly, especially after sweating or swimming. For more tips see this article by Dr. Freiman.

2 – Consider Sun Protective Clothing:
Some lightweight clothing provides protection equivalent to an SPF rating of 8 or less. To provide consumers with a better sense as to the sun protection capability of clothing, the Canadian Dermatology Association has adopted the Sun Protection Evaluation Program (SPEP) that clothing manufacturers can use to rate their products. Remember that hats only provide limited protection from the sun, especially baseball hats.

3 – Wear Sunglasses:
Choose quality sunglasses labeled 100% UV protection. Consider wrap-around sunglasses that block more rays from the periphery of the eye. They’ll also help protect this delicate skin from premature aging – the fine lines and wrinkles most of us are trying to avoid, hide, or repair.

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