The full spectrum: sun safety for all occasions

Sun safety and the best sunscreens

Photo by Antonio Gabola on Unsplash


The full spectrum: sun safety for all occasions

You already know sunscreen is a must. What gets confusing is choosing the right formula for your outdoor activity. We’ve teamed up with skin-care pros to solve the mystery for you—in style.

MUST HAVE:  🌞 Every day - Sunscreen

How to choose the best sunscreen: 

Aim for SPF 30 or higher to protect your skin from UV rays.

Make sure it protects you from UVB, the rays that cause sunburn, and UVA, the rays that cause premature aging. Look for broad-spectrum, or UVA & UVB on the label.

If you have sensitive skin, avoid products that contain chemicals like avobenzone and octisalate. Instead, choose a mineral sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.


Best for sensitive skin 

Silky and extremely comfortable, it leaves the skin velvety-soft with no oily film. Applied after your regular daytime skin care product or before going out into the sun, Sun Smart is your skin's best ally. Paraben-free and formulated without chemical sunscreens.


Best for combination skin 

A lightweight sunscreen that’s nonirritating, even on breakout-prone skin. Layer this sheer zinc mineral sunblock over your serum and moisturizer, or use it in place of a day cream. 


BIOSSANCE Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30.


Best for oily skin 

Protect your skin with Physical Matte UV Defense SPF 50, a broad spectrum 100% physical tinted sunscreen with a long-lasting matte finish, with SPF 50 sun protection that absorbs oil.


Physical Matte UV Defense SPF 50, Skin Ceuticals.



Best for mature skin 

A blend of mineral sunscreen and moisturizing ingredients helps correct and protect against future signs of sun damage. And the ultralight texture sits perfectly under makeup. 


IDC DERMO Solis+ SPF 30 Mineral Anti-Aging Sunscreen,  IDC Dermo.


MUST HAVES: 💪 Exercising Outdoors


Left to Right, Top to Bottom:  Women's Sculpt Tank Top, Lululemon | Vans Women's Court Side Hat, Sportchek | Garnier Ombrelle Sport Continuous Spray SPF 50+ , Garnier | 1.5L Stainless Steel Double-Wall Insulated Water Bottle, The Bay  

Reduce your UV exposure by planning your outdoor activities for first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon. If you must 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.



MUST HAVES: 🏖 Beach Day 


Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Eomenie Women's One Piece Swimsuits Tummy Control Cut out High Waisted Bathing Suit Wrap Tie Back 1 Piece Swimsuit , | Tie-detail Sun Hat, H&M | Sunglasses, Michael Kors MK2165-56 Corfu, Clearly | AVEENO®PROTECT + HYDRATE® FACE SUNSCREEN SPF 50, Aveeno | Flip-Flop Sandals 3-Pack for Women (Partially Plant-Based), Old Navy

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 oxybenzone and avobenzone 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.

TIP: “You’re less likely to miss a spot when you apply sunscreen in the nude,” says Dr. Khanna.


MUST HAVES:  🌸 Gardening


Top to Bottom, Left to Right: Straw Boater Hat, Joe Fresh | Long Foxgloves Gardening Gloves, Lee Valley | Sun Bum Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Face Stick, | Women's Gardener Short Rain Boot, Hunter

Check The Weather Network 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, SPF 15 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.


MUST HAVES:  👜 Commuting to Work


Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Zabelle mock-neck textured T-shirt, Simon's Sunthera3 Lip Balm SPF30, Shoppers Drug Mart | Bond Leather Mule, Banana Republic | V-Neck Fit & Flare Dress, Laura.

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. And don't forget your lips.  “You see the most sun damage in those areas because they get a lifetime of exposure.”








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The full spectrum: sun safety for all occasions