With the thinning ozone layer, the risk of developing skin cancer in our lifetime is one in three. Yet that doesn’t mean all of us are vigilant about applying sunscreen.
According to a 2008 survey by L’Oréal Canada, only 12 percent of 5,000 people polled use some form of sun protection every time they go outdoors. Only a third of respondents use it each time they expose themselves to the sun.
This isn’t good enough, says Toronto dermatologist Dr. Paul Cohen. ‘SPF 15 is good if you’re inside most of the time,’ he says. But, he adds, ‘skin cancer rates are growing at epidemic proportions.’ Skin cancer is up 66 percent since 1990. One in 425 Canadians developed it in 2008, and 1,170 died from it. Cohen says we should be wearing at least SPF 30 when outdoors.
With advances in beauty product technology, it’s easier to get coverage. In fact, boundaries between sunscreens and moisturizers are blurring. More sunscreens than ever contain antioxidants so they double as moisturizers, while more moisturizers increasingly offer high SPF and double as sunscreen.
‘For a long time, formulating sunscreens into anti-aging creams was a challenge,’ says Laura Goodman, a senior scientist with P&G Beauty. Now, anti-aging creams with higher SPFs approximate the texture of regular moisturizer‘goodbye, thick and chalky’and are non-comedogenic (meaning they won’t clog pores, which can cause breakouts). However, Cohen says: ‘They’re for day-to-day use. At the beach, use regular sunscreen. The ingredients are more stable and often waterproof.’
These cool concepts and multi-taskers could be available in Canada in the near future:
‘ St. Ives launched Elements Protective Cleanser with UVA/UVB in the United States. You use it to wash in the shower and when you rinse, the sunscreen remains.
‘ Toronto-based Isomers Laboratories also has a body wash in the clinical trial stage. A ‘smart’ sunscreen turns on when you’re in the sun (and off when you’re not), reducing need for reapplication.
‘ Clear Protect, a transparent gel sunscreen from Garnier in the United Kingdom, cools your skin when it’s applied.