How to choose a sunscreen
Choose a product:
- with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher
- that is “broad spectrum”, which protects against UVA and UVB rays
- that is water resistant, especially if you will be sweating or swimming
- that has the label of recognition by the Canadian Dermatology Association (CDA)
How to use sunscreen
Always test your skin for allergic reactions before using a sunscreen all over your body.
- Apply a small amount on your inner forearm for 2 to 3 days in a row.
- Stop using it if your skin shows signs of redness, itching, blotchiness or rash.
- Talk to a pharmacist or doctor if your sunscreen causes a problem.
For best results . . .
- No sunscreen provides 100% protection. Use sunscreen with other sun protection measures such as limiting time in the sun, seeking shade, wearing protective clothing and a hat, and wearing sunglasses.
- Apply sunscreen on skin that is not covered by clothes or a hat. Don’t forget your face, neck, ears, and the back of your hands and feet. Use a lip balm with a SPF 30 or higher to protect your lips. Reapply after eating or drinking.
- Read the label and try it out. Choose a sunscreen that is labelled SPF 30 or higher, “broad spectrum” (UVA and UVB protection), and “water resistant”. Use a sunscreen that you like and find easy to use.
- Remember to use sunscreen. Use sunscreen when the sun’s UV rays are at their strongest, such as when the UV Index is 3 or higher, usually from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Apply sunscreen before other skin products. Re-apply sunscreen regularly, especially after sweating, swimming, or toweling. Sunscreen should also be used during the winter months on exposed areas of skin.
- Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on the bottle.
- Do not use a product after the expiration date.
- Store sunscreen in a cool, dry place.
Are you wearing enough sunscreen?
Most adults need 2 to 3 tablespoons of sunscreen to cover their body and 1 teaspoon of sunscreen to cover their face and neck.
Sunscreen and babies
- Sunscreen may be used on babies over six months; avoid the mouth and eye areas.
- Sunscreen is safe to use. Health Canada regulates the safety, effectiveness, and quality of sunscreens in Canada. No published studies have shown that sunscreen is toxic to humans or hazardous to human health.
- Babies under 1 year of age should be kept out of direct sunlight.
- Canadian Dermatology Association (2020). Sunscreen FAQ. Retrieved from https://dermatology.ca/public-patients/sun-protection/sunscreen-faq/on August 27, 2020.
- Health Canada. Health Products and Food Branch. (2018). Primary Sunscreen Monograph. Retrieved from http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=sunscreen-ecransolaire& on July 22, 2020.
- Government of Canada (2017). Sunscreens. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/sun-safety/sunscreens.html on July 22, 2020.
- Government of Canada. Health Canada (2020). Insect repellents. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/about-pesticides/insect-repellents.html on July 22, 2020.
- National steering committee for consensus on content for sun safety messages. The recommended core content for sun safety messages in Canada (May 2018). Report on the 2014/15 National Consensus Process – Expanded report. Integration of documents previously reviewed by the National Steering Committee for Consensus on Content for Sun Safety Messages. Updated May 2018.
- Canadian dermatology association (2020). Canadian dermatology association position statement: Sun protection and sunscreen use. Retrieved from https://dermatology.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Sun-Protection-and-Sunscreen-Use-Position-Statement-EN.pdf on July 24, 2020.
This item was last modified on August 27, 2020