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frequently asked questions
The sun is meant to be enjoyed—to lounge in, to play in, to bask in….but you have to know the basics to make your time in the sun safer. Below we answer some of your most pressing sun care questions.
UVB and UVA rays from the sun can be damaging to the skin – if the proper sunscreen protection isn’t worn during sun exposure, this contributes to aging, can cause unsightly skin damage…and even skin cancer.
Ultra-violet (UV) rays are emitted from the sun and travel to the earth in wavelengths. The UV wavelengths are very small, but they contain high levels of energy that penetrate human flesh, changing the structure of the skin cells. Some of these skin cells are assigned the job of producing melanin, which creates a brown coloring. This is how the tanning process is activated. Melanin provides varying degrees of natural protection from sun damage. Individuals with darker skin have more melanin than those with fair skin, therefore more natural protection.
UV rays are classified into 3 regions according to the frequency of their wavelengths. The wavelengths are so small they are measured in nanometers (nano=one billionth of a meter). Infrared radiation (760 - 3000 nm) can also be harmful to the skin, resulting in squamous/ basal cell carcinoma and direct skin-aging changes.
Sunscreen products contain ingredients that help in absorbing, reflecting and/or scattering UV rays. These products are formulated to provide various levels of protection from UVA, UVB, and IR rays. The Sun Protection Factor rating system has been established by Health Canada to measure primarily the amount of UVB sunburn protection the product will provide. No rating system has yet been established for measuring UVA protection.
The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) indicates how much longer an individual can be in the sun before becoming burned when using a sun protection product, than if he or she did not. For example, a fair skinned person who would normally start to burn after 10 minutes in the sun would receive 15 times that with an SPF 15 (150 minutes or 2 1/2 hours). If a person with darker skin takes longer to burn without protection, say 20 minutes, an SPF 15 would give him 300 minutes (5 hours). Reapplication using the same SPF reinforces the initial protection, but does not add time to the protection period. Application of a significantly higher SPF may extend the protection period, but should not be relied on if you suspect sunburn has begun to occur. Then it's time to seek shade.
It was once widely believed that a SPF 15 product offered sufficient UV protection under most conditions. Over the last few years that school of thought has changed. It is now known that, often more sun protection is desirable.
It's ideal to select a sunscreen that blocks enough UV rays to adequately protect your skin type. If you have very fair or sensitive skin, a history of skin cancer, or take photo-sensitizing medications, you may need a higher SPF.
SPF ratings are determined in a laboratory setting. SPF 30 products are estimated to allow 1/30 of the sun’s burning rays to get through to the skin (protects against almost 97% of the sun’s burning rays). SPF 50 products are estimated to allow 1/50 of the sun’s burning rays to get through to the skin (protects against approximately 98% of the sun’s burning rays). Actual protection may vary and will depend on the user applying adequate amounts. Reapply at least every 2 hours or as directed on the package to help ensure adequate protection.
Daily use of sun protection can significantly reduce the potential health risks associated with exposure to UV rays and can help prevent long-term damage.
UVB rays are the burning rays and are stronger during the summer months. The UVA rays that cause long-term damage to the skin are prevalent year-round
Be aware of incidental sun exposure. This occurs during such routine activities as walking the dog or standing outside chatting with a neighbour.
A physician should be consulted in the case of severe sunburn. DO NOT use butter or petroleum-based ointments. DO NOT allow further sun exposure until your skin is completely healed.
Self-tanning products were designed as an alternative to sun exposure for a tanned appearance. The key ingredient is dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, which reacts with the amino acids in the upper layers of the skin to produce a brown colouring. No dyes or bronzers are used in our products.
For best results, use the self-tanning product after showering and exfoliating the skin. Rinse skin well; other skincare products, such as moisturizers, soap residue, etc. can interfere with the action of the DHA.
Apply generously and evenly, blending quickly until lotion is completely absorbed. Use sparingly around hairline, knees, ankles, and elbows. Wash hands with soap and water immediately after application. Avoid contact with clothing until product dries. Allow 2-3 hours for results. Apply again if darker colour is desired; reapply once daily to maintain color. Initially, more than one application may be required to reach the desired colour.
The colour produced by a self-tanning product does not wash off; it simply fades as the upper layers of the epidermis wear away. You can try to speed the exfoliation process by scrubbing the skin with a washcloth or loofah sponge. It may take a week or more for the "tanned" skin to disappear.
Well, a daily moisturizer with SPF is okay for the first two hours after you apply it. But if you put it on at 8 a.m. and are heading out to lunch at noon, be sure to apply more sunscreen if you plan to sit outside – since you’ll be past the Health Canada-recommended 2-hour application period.
We are happy to help answer any questions you may have. If you haven’t found what you need on our website, please call our customer care line at 1-800-NO-UV-RAY (1-800-668-8729).
For over 50 years, we’ve been bringing trusted suncare to consumers, making products with your everyday beauty in mind. Infused with skin-loving island-inspired botanicals and ingredients like papaya, mango, passion fruit, plumeria, guava, and aloe, our suncare products don’t just protect your skin, they nourish it.
In addition to caring for your skin with broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection, we’re also doing our part to help care for the planet by formulating our sunscreens to be Reef Friendly, Cruelty-Free.