Oh Sunny Day

June 22, 2011

Although we haven’t had much sunshine (yes, I’m complaining once again!)  it is time to start thinking about what kind of sunscreen you are going use. One important thing to remember is that sunscreen (like all lotions) has an expiry date. I learned the hard way that the date is there for a reason, I got a terrible burn using expired sunscreen!

The first thing to consider is the amount of SPF (or Sun Protection Factor) you need. SPF measures how much the product shields the sun’s shorter-wave ultraviolet B rays, known as UVB, which can cause sunburn. When I was growing up SPF 15 was all you could get and considered the best but now you can buy SPF 100. So, what does that mean and is it necessary? I’ve read quite a bit of research and it all points to the fact that it’s the way you put the sunscreen on more than in amount of SPF it has in it. It is important that you apply sunscreen thickly and evenly at least 30 minutes before you go outside, and reapply after swimming, sweating or every 2-4 hours.

So, to choose an SPF number is the next question. SPF 15 blocks about 94% of UVB rays, SPF 30 product blocks 97% of UVB rays, and an SPF 45 blocks about 98% of rays. From what my doctor said to me, SPF 15 is all you need when applied properly and worn with a hat and protective clothing.

Ingredients are also important when considering sunscreen. There are a few chemicals that you should stay away from (if possible) but the two major ones are; oxybenzone and benzophenone. I always try to use products that are as environmentally friendly and natural as possible. To help me make decisions I use the Environmental Working Groups cosmetics database, check it out:

I am all about trying to use products that are as natural and chemical free as possible so for sunscreen we have been using GreenBeaver SPF 30… I find it’s a little greasy but not too thick and doesn’t leave your skin white and best of all it’s made in Canada!! 

Hopefully this will help you make your sunscreen decision… that is, if the sun ever shines long enough for you to need it!


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