Frequently Asked Questions
1. I am an outdoor worker. What can I do to protect myself from the sun?
· Wear a wide brimmed hat (or neck protector under a hard hat)
· Use a sunscreen and lip balm with SPF 30 or more
· Wear sun glasses to protect your eyes
· Wear long sleeved shirts and pants to cover the skin
· Seek shade during lunch and breaks
2. What is the UV index?
3. What sunscreen should I use?
Choose a product with an SPF of 15 (SPF 30 if you work outdoors or will be outdoors for most of the day) or higher with both UVA and UVB protection. Apply it generously on all exposed skin and reapply every 2 hours or after swimming or perspiring.
4. What is the difference between a sunblock and a sunscreen?
Sunscreens contain ingredients that chemically absorb UV rays and sunblocks contain ingredients that physically deflect UV rays.
5. How do I protect my baby from the sun?
Keep babies under one year of age out of direct sunlight. Keep strollers and playpens in shaded areas. Dress babies in lightweight clothing to protect the arms and legs. Use a wide-brimmed hat to protect the head and neck.
6. How do I know if I have skin cancer?
Be familiar with your own skin so that you recognize any changes. Examine it each month. Once you know the pattern of your moles, freckles and other marks on your skin, you will be able to detect any changes. If there are changes, make an appointment with your family doctor.
7. What does SPF mean?
SPF stands for sun protection factor. The SPF number on a sunscreen bottle or lip balm indicates the ability of the product to protect the skin from the sun's UVB rays. The higher the SPF number, the more protection offered.
8. What is the difference between UVA and UVB radiation?
Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays penetrate deeply into the skin. These rays are responsible for delayed tanning and premature ageing. UVA is not filtered by the atmosphere and can pass through glass.
Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays are more intense than UVA rays. UVB rays penetrate just below the skin's surface. These rays are largely responsible for sunburns.
Both UVA and UVB rays can cause the skin to burn and lead to skin cancer, eye damage and premature ageing. They can also affect your immune system.
9. Does sunscreen have an expiry date?
Yes, active ingredients in sunscreen will expire over time. Always check the expiry date on the bottle, as expired sunscreen may not provide reliable protection.
10. Can I wear sunscreen and insect repellant at the same time?
Yes; however, mosquito repellent products may reduce the SPF capacity of the sunscreen. If using both products, apply the sunscreen 15 minutes before you apply mosquito repellent.
For more information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse, please contact: