Spending the day by the water with a new read is the stuff summers are made of. But before you even put on that bathing suit, ward off sun damage by slathering on sunscreen with a high SPF—enough to fill a shot glass—every two hours. If you're using a chemical sunscreen with filters such as oxybenxone to absorb the UV rays, Montreal dermatologist Dr. Manish Khanna recommends applying it 30 minutes prior to going outside; to be effective, sunscreen must interact with skin cells, and that takes time. But you can't rely solely on sunscreen, says Dr. Khanna. Seeking shade and wearing wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses and rash-guard tops are just as essential.
Clarins Sunscreen Care Oil Spray SPF 30 for body and hair, $35, clarins.ca. Sun Bum Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50, $18, trustthebum.com. Eau Thermale Avène Very High Protection Mineral Cream SPF 50, $28, eau-thermale-avene.ca.
Reduce your UV exposure by planning your outdoor activities for first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon. If you have to be outside when the sun's rays are at their peak (from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), Toronto dermatologist Dr. Sonya Cook suggests wearing a hat with a two-inch brim to protect your nose, ears and scalp. During physical activity in the sun, it's important to choose the right sunscreen. Water and sweat, usually the mortal enemies, have finally met their match: Some of today's water-resistant SPFs use a breathable adhesive film that sticks to skin, providing lasting coverage.
Shiseido WetForce Ultra sun Protection Cream SPF 50, $48, shiseido.ca. Neutrogena CoolDry Sport SPF 60, $17, shoppersdrugmart.ca.
Check theweathernetwork.com/forecasts/uv/list to find out how quickly you'll burn on any given day. If the UV Index is moderate to high, consider taking a rain check on your yard work. It's also important to apply the right amount of product. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, 40 percent of Canadians who apply sunscreen don't put enough on. "In the laboratory, SPF15 will give you 93 percent protection against UVB," says Dr. Cook, "but in reality, people are only putting on a quarter to half as much as lab tests indicate to be adequate.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 60 Stick, $21, laroche-posay.ca. Éminence Organic Skin Care Tropical Vanilla Body Sunscreen SPF 32, $52, thefacialroom.ca.
Commuting to work
Think a quick commute to the office means you can skip sunscreen? Think again. Even tinted car windows can let in UVA rays. "UVB, or burning, rays are blocked by glass, but UVA, or aging, rays have a longer wavelength and can pass through," says Dr. Cook. "Because UVA rays travel farther, they have a bigger role in the development of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer." Apply SPF 30 daily to your face, neck, chest and the backs of your hands. "You can see the most sun damage in those areas because they get a lifetime of exposure."
Tarte tarteguard 30 Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $38, sephora.ca. Garnier Ombrelle Ultra Light Advanced SPF 50, $20, garnier.ca. SkinCeuticals Physical Eye UV Defence SPF 50, $37, skinceuticals.ca.
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This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of Canadian Living magazine.Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue.