June 2018: Protecting your Skin this Summer

The Rural Pharmacist : Protecting Your Skin this Summer

-Devon Myers, Pharmacist & Owner

With the welcoming of spring and the anticipation of summer, more and more people are finding themselves leaving the couch behind and spending time outdoors. Whether it’s shopping for deals at a local yard sale or battling the never ending, sometimes thankless task of spring yard cleanup, people are finding any excuse to step outside. With that being said, it’s time discuss a very important health issue that sometimes gets forgotten over the winter months. That’s right! Skin care and how to help prevent sun-induced skin damage. Why treat a sunburn when you can help prevent skin damage from occurring in the first place? Wearing proper clothing and applying sunscreen are two great options for protecting your skin. So let’s get started! When it comes to preventing sun-induced skin damage, we’ve got you covered. Pun? Absolutely intended.

Excessive exposure of ultraviolet (UV) radiation causes damage to our skin. UVB exposure is the primary cause of sun burns while UVA exposure is the primary cause of photoaging and skin cancer. Fortunately, there are many commercially available sunscreens that protect against both types of UV radiation. These sunscreens are often labelled “broad spectrum” meaning that they will help prevent skin damage caused by both UVA and UVB. When selecting a sunscreen, seek a product that is labelled broad spectrum and which has a SPF factor of at least 15. These parameters will ensure that, if used properly, the sunscreen chosen will help decrease the risk of sunburn, skin cancer and photoaging. 

A general guideline for the application of sunscreens is that they should be applied liberally 15 minutes prior to sun exposure. A second application shortly after the first is also recommended to ensure proper coverage. On average, in can take up to 30mL of sunscreen to cover an entire adult body. Remember, the back of our necks, the tops of our ears and our lips all require protection from the sun.  Re-application of sunscreen should also be a consideration if you’re spending several hours outside. Referencing the product specific instructions is a great way of understanding when re-application is necessary. Swimming, excessive sweating and towelling off are other reasons why a reapplication may be needed. These guidelines apply to individuals over the age of 6 months.

For infants under 6 months of age, it is advisable to avoid sun exposure if possible. Seeking shade with the use of stroller covers and/or umbrellas can be helpful. Dressing infants with appropriate clothing is also important. Loose fitting clothing that covers exposed skin and wide-brimmed hats that protect the child’s face are things to consider. Of course, these strategies can be applied for older individuals as well. In addition, try to avoid sun exposure during the late morning and early afternoon when sun rays are at their strongest. 

With the proper preventative strategies, we should all be able to enjoy the beautiful summer weather that Northwestern Ontario has to offer. To celebrate our first season in the Oliver Papoonge community, Rosslyn Pharmacy will be hosting a barbeque on June 16, 2018. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Rosslyn Community Centre. This will be a great opportunity to spend time with your neighbours and to meet the staff of Rosslyn Pharmacy.