Your Sunscreen 411

You own it, you wear it, you’re grateful. It’s sunscreen and you’re a convert. You won’t celebrate the sun without it. But just in case you need a quick and dirty cheat sheet about the how, when, what and why, we’ve got your covered.

1. You need to protect against the sun’s UV lights: UVA (aging) and UVB (burning). They lead to wrinkles and skin cancer, respectively. Enough said.

2. There are two types of sunscreens: Physical and chemical sun protectors. Physical versions have a thick formula, stick to the surface of your skin, reflect the sun’s UV light and contain minerals, like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Chemical protectors have thinner formulations,  smooth on easily, are available in non-comedogenic (anti-acne) options, turn the UV rays into heat so that they’re absorbed into and then, bounced off of your skin. They’re usually carbon-based and contain oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate ingredients.

3. Apply a shot glass amount of your favourite sunscreen product all over your face, head (if you’re bald or have thinning hair) and body 30 minutes before you go outside. This gives the sunscreen enough time to absorb into the skin and offer optimal protection.

4. The number on the bottle isn’t associated with time, like 30 SPF for 30 minutes. It actually means, you can spend 30 times longer in the sun than you could without sunscreen and that differs from person to person. A good rule of thumb, reapply your sunscreen every hour and always, immediately after swimming and playing sports.

5. Wear your sunscreen 365 days of the year. Even on the cloudy, snowy, and hazy days. Try: Aveeno, Sensitive Skin SPF 50 comes in 88 ml for $16 to $19, available at drug stores across Canada.

Adriana Ermter

Adriana is an award-winning writer and editor. The former beauty director for FASHION magazine and editor-in-chief of Salon and of Childview magazines has hosted beauty videos for, as well as contributed to Men’s FASHION, Chatelaine and, Flare and, Huffington Post Canada, National Post,,, and She lives in Toronto with her very spoiled feline, Trixie-Belle, and a fantastically large perfume collection.

You may follow Adriana on Twitter: @AErmter and on Instagram: AdrianaErmter.

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