How To Protect Your Skin From The Sun

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Can you guess what state has the highest rate of skin cancer cases in the United States? Most of you are thinking California? Arizona? Florida? Wrong! The rainy, cloudy, evergreen state, Washington has the highest rate of skin cancer, and melanoma cases since 2010.

How is this possible since they rarely ever see the sun? Even when the sun is hiding behind the clouds, up to 40% of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation reaches the Earth, and your skin. So it is as important as ever to protect your skin from UV damage that can cause skin cancer, even when the sun is hiding behind the clouds. Did you know that 90% of aging is caused by sun exposure? Yet another good reason to protect your skin by lathering up!

How Can You Protect Your Skin From The Sun?

Sunscreen of course! Sunscreen works by combining organic and inorganic active ingredients to protect your skin. Inorganic ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium oxide reflect or scatter ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Organic ingredients like octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC) or oxybenzone absorb UV radiation, dissipating it as heat.

What Does SPF Stand For?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It’s a number that you can use to help determine how long you can stay in the sun before getting a sunburn. Your skin has a natural SPF, partially determined by how much melanin you have, or how darkly pigmented your skin is. The SPF is a multiplication factor. If you can stay out in the sun 15 minutes before burning, using a sunscreen with an SPF of 10 would allow you to resist the burn for 10x longer or 150 minutes.

What SPF Should You Use?

SPF 30 is all you need to protect your skin – anything higher doesn’t add up. SPF 15 protects against 94% of sun damage, and SPF 30 protects against 97% of sun damage, where an SPF 50 protects against 98% of sun damage. Everything has some sort of SPF in it these days – from your aftershaves, to your make up primer, to your lip balm, which is great until it wears off after about 2 hours. The important thing to remember when it comes to protecting your skin is reapplication!

If you read my earlier post about mineral sunscreen, you can see that re-application is a lot easier than you thought. A powder that controls your mid-day forehead shine, AND it will protect your skin from harmful UV rays. What more could you ask for?! What about a sunscreen you don’t have to re-apply? This one is my favourite, Celazome SPF 29 is formulated with an 8 HOUR time-release, which means you can protect your skin from the time you leave your house to about the time the sun goes down. Now wasn’t that easy!

The reason I love this one over a lot of other products is because it doesn’t have the thick, greasy feel of most sunscreens. It’s a lightweight, yet hydrating lotion that doesn’t leave the skin looking ghostly. For most people these days, between family, friends, and work, re-applying their sunscreen is the last thing on their minds, now they don’t have to worry about it!

What Does “Broad-Spectrum” Mean?

Ultraviolet radiation is broken into three types of wavelengths:

  • UV-A: This is the longest wavelength and is not absorbed by the ozone. It penetrates the skin deeper than UVB.
  • UV-B: Responsible for sunburns. It is partially blocked by the ozone layer.
  • UV-C: This is totally absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere; we encounter it only from artificial radiation sources.

A broad spectrum sunscreen means it is protecting you against UVA, and UVB rays. Excessive exposure to both UVA and UVB rays can lead to skin cancer, and melanoma so sunscreens that with broad spectrum protection are ideal.


Use these tips – utlizing sunscreen, the right kind and re-apply generously – to protect your skin from the sun. Don’t let harmful UV rays damage your skin. Protect it!

Got questions? Leave a comment below and I’ll respond! Otherwise, stay tuned for my next blog post!

About the Author:

Chloe Dobie is the head Laser and Skin Care specialist at CüR Laser and Skin, where she helps the men and women of Vancouver to rejuvenate their skin, and souls! Chloe has a passion for learning and is constantly researching new technologies and techniques to improve the results of her clients. Although she hasn’t yet perfected her “miracle perfect skin potion”, Chloe has a lot of great tricks and tips up her sleeve that she loves sharing with her clients to ensure they get the most out of their treatments.

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