The temptation to bask in the warmth of the brief Canadian summer is almost irresistible for most people. But every year, more Canadians are learning the hard facts about the sun—among them, that a few minutes exposure to noonhour rays can cause sunburn on unprotected skin. According to Michael Hennessey, the marketing manager of Toronto-based Scholl-Plough Canada Inc.—which manufactures Coppertone products in Canada—consumers spent more than $23 million last year in an attempt to prevent premature aging and other skin problems caused by exposure to the sun. And he added that, since 1985, a booming market for lotions, creams, oils and gels that offer progressively
higher degrees of protection has grown by about 35 per cent a year.
Sunscreen products range from a rating of two to a high of 50 according to their sun protection factor (SPF)—a ratio that measures their ability to block harmful ultraviolet rays. At the low end of the scale, a lotion with an SPF of two will double the skin’s natural protection. Many dermatologists say that sunbathers should choose products with an SPF rating that matches their tanning habits—and skin types. For fairskinned people who burn easily and tan slowly, doctors recommend an SPF of 15 or more. Lotions with an SPF of six or eight allow gradual tanning and are acceptable for skin that receives only moderate sunburn
when left unprotected. Lower SPF levels of two and four should be used only by people who rarely burn and tan well—and only after prior, better-protected exposure to the sun.
Most doctors recommend that before going outdoors—winter or summer-people with all types of skin should apply products containing an SPF of at least 15 on all exposed areas. And, to receive maximum protection, experts add that people should apply a sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outdoors—so that the lotion can be absorbed into the skin—and reapply every VÁ to two hours. Health advisers say that tanners are not likely to change their sunning habits entirely. But they add that those who follow the simple guidelines will have more time to enjoy the sun’s powerful rays.
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