Growing up in an multi-Asian household, the idea of having deep dark tan has never been an appealing summer look that I wanted to work on. Friends and colleagues tend to chuckle when they find some Asian women wearing those “Darth-Vader-like” visors or holding an umbrella out on a bright sunny day.
In most Asian cultures, we really care about our appearances. One aspect for women is to especially be as light-skinned as possible, as my mother taught us that this shows others that you don’t need to work outside like a “farmer-girl” (i.e.; The tanner one looks, this means the lower they are on the lower-working class scale).
It’s funny how in North America, others have different perspectives on seeing those tanned. Around the office, we are curious to learn about those who had their weekend fun outdoors or who just returned from their recent getaways to places like Florida, Hawaii or the Caribbean.
During one of these many chit-chats by the coffee machine, I was surprised to learn about the different things we do to protect against the harsh rays of the sun.
Here are some surprising ways that you may be undermining your sun care:
Thinking that sunscreen prevents you from tanning
- In general, sunscreens do not block out all the rays, thus you can still get tanned
- According to SunTips.ca, “Sunscreen can’t protect you on its own, because it can’t block out all the UV radiation the sun produces.”
Applying the first layer of sunscreen in the sun
- Despite popular belief, sunscreen starts working immediately after applying them! Just don’t jump right into the water or they may wash off: give them 15 minutes to “set” on your skin first. [via Sunscreen 101 by Dermatology.ca]
- Generally it’s a good idea to apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before you head out into the sun to allow the active, protective ingredients to bond to your skin
- If you apply the first layer of sunscreen when you’re really sweaty while outside in the sun, it will likely not be effective as it likely slips off your skin
Slapping on sunscreen once and forgetting to reapply
- Just because you slap on a higher SPF sunscreen doesn’t mean you just need to apply once
- Generally it’s a good practice to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, even on cloudy days [via Cancer.ca]
- After sweating, swimming or other water sports, it’s also recommended to reapply water-resistant sunscreen often
Only applying sunscreen on your face
- It can be easy to apply sunscreen as you can buy foundations, cover-up and moisturizers that have them blended in
- On warmer days, don’t forget to apply sunscreen on exposed skin
- For the best sun protection, seek shade or wear clothing that would cover up your skin
Applying your first layer of sunscreen over makeup
- As it’s best to apply your first layer of sunscreen beneath your layers of makeup so the sunscreen can bind to your skin, but what about reapplying more sunscreen?
- There are traditional creams and sprays you can reapply with or powdered sunscreens that you can dust above your make-up
- Or you can layer up with makeup that has SPF blended in
Thinking windows block out all harmful UV rays
- It can be nice and balmy to work by a window or drive on a nice sunny day
- Some UV rays can also pass through windows. Typical car, home, and office windows block most UVB rays but a smaller portion of UVA rays, so even if you don’t feel you’re getting burned your skin may still get some damage. [ via Cancer.org ]
- Clear and tinted window films to be applied to windows for additional protection, depending on the kind of tinting that is chosen to block most UVB rays
Avoiding the sun at all costs
- Getting outside can be beneficial for many healthy reasons – mental break, break from the computer screen, standing up and walking around, fresh air…
- We don’t need to avoid the sun completely
- Like most things in life, too much of anything can be a bad thing, but we can do our best to find a balance
To keep it simple, remember these tips for sun safety
- Slip on a shirt
- Slop on sunscreen
- Slap on a hat
- Slide sunglasses upon your face
Presentation Slides and Printable Posters on Sun Safety
Feel free to right-click to download these images or print this PDF to share on your Health, Safety and Wellness bulletin boards.