Sunscreen tips: How much to use and when to apply

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As the summer season kicks off, many may find themselves increasingly exposed to the sun. Dr. Renee Beach, a dermatologist, told CTV’s Your Morning on Monday that without skin protection, this exposure can cause DNA damage, which could develop into skin cancer.

Beach says although many may only wear sunscreen in the summer, protecting the skin should be a “year-round thing.”

“Even when we can’t see the sun…we still have UVA (Ultraviolet A),” she said. “So that’s the rays that come through windows (and) windshields, it’s the ones that we see coming off sometimes the reflection of snow, for example.”

When there is exposure to direct sunlight, Beach says people come into contact with UVA and Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. To protect the skin, sunscreen is needed.

“SPF stands for sun protection factor, and what you’ll commonly hear is that SPF 30 is what should be on our skin,” Beach said. “The reason why is because that equates to about 97 per cent of ultraviolet radiation or UV protection from our daytime sunlight.”

Applying the correct sunscreen and the right amount are other important factors in protecting the skin.

Beach people recommend using about a quarter teaspoon of sunscreen on the face. If applying sunscreen to both the face and neck, they should use about half a teaspoon.

“When we look at the whole body, that’s closer to a shot glass or 30 milliliters,” she said.

That amount should be reapplied often depending on the activity, Beach said. If an adult is outdoors, doing activities such as running, cycling or swimming, she suggests reapplying sunscreen every two hours.

But for children, reapplication and sunscreen amounts should be different, Beach said.

To ensure children aren’t exposed to high levels of UV rays, Beach said the best thing to do is to cover them up.

“They should have a hat with a brim around it, and they should also be wearing rash guard clothing, so the sleeves are longer,” she said. “Then, really, you just want to keep them out [of the sun] during those peak hours, which is usually around 11 am to 3 pm”

To watch the full interview and hear all of Beach’s tips, click on the video at the top of this article.