Sun Safety

What is Sun Safety?

Sun safety is a practical way of living your day-to-day life while protecting yourself from the sun's harmful rays.  Sunburns and cumulative sun exposure can lead to life-threatening skin cancer and prevention with smart sun safe practices are key.  Wearing broad brimmed hats that shade face, neck and ears, sunglasses with UV protection, sitting in the shade, and walking on the shaded side of the street are all good daily sun safe practices.  For longer periods of sun exposure like hikes, bike rides and vacations, consider wearing long sleeves and pants and avoiding peak hours of sun exposure between 10am-2pm.

Why should I wear sunscreen?

Sunscreen can reduce the risk of skin cancer and helps prevent and reverse the signs aging.  

What is the best sunscreen?

You should look for a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher and broad-spectrum. Broad spectrum means it protects against UVA and UVB.  UVA are the sun rays that cause aging of your skin and UVB rays are the sun rays that cause burning of the skin. Physical blocking sunscreens (sunscreens that contain zinc or titanium) protect against a broader spectrum of rays.  

How should I use my sunscreen?

Make sure you apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 hours if you sweat or swim. Make sure you apply a shot glass full (1 ounce of 30mL) of sunscreen each time you apply and reapply.  

Do I only need sunscreen on sunny days?

You should wear sunscreen every day, especially on exposed areas of skin like you face, ears, neck, chest and backs of hands.  Even on cloudy days, up to 80 percent of the sun's ultraviolet rays can pass through the clouds.

Will wearing sunscreen decrease my Vitamin D levels?

Wearing sunscreen will decrease the skin's production of vitamin D, but sun exposure is not the only way of obtaining vitamin D and sun exposure is not a recommended method for obtaining adequate vitamin D.   If you are concerned about low vitamin D, your primary care doctor can check your vitamin D levels and oral supplementation can be given if needed.