Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer is here. Your Markham Orthodontist Reminds you to Protect Yourself in the Sun!

It looks like summer has finally made it. School has ended, exams are done, and the hot weather is here. Our phone is going off the hook with patients scheduling consultations for braces and Invisalign. If you wish to schedule your complimentary evaluation, please call us at 905-477-7750.

Your Unionville braces and Richmond Hill Invisalign team at Markham Centre Orthodontics wish all of our patients and family a wonderful and safe summer. Stay cool and protect yourself from the sun. Below is information from Health Canada regarding fun in the sun.

Exposure to UV radiation, primarily UVB, can cause sunburns and may eventually result in skin cancer. It is important to note that while sunscreens can help reduce sunburn, they are not as effective against the other harmful effects of UV rays, such as premature aging of the skin and depression of the immune system.

All sunscreens have a sun protection factor (SPF) on their labels. The SPF represents the length of time that sunscreen-protected skin can be exposed to UVB rays before a minimal redness (erythema) appears, compared to the length of time it takes on unprotected skin. In other words, it indicates how much longer you can be exposed to the sun before getting a sunburn.

The amount of time it takes for unprotected skin to burn depends on skin type. In general, fair skin burns more quickly than darker skin. If you have the type of skin that would burn after 20 minutes in the sun without protection, then the proper application of sunscreen with SPF 15 would allow you to spend up to 300 minutes (15 times longer) in the sun without getting a sunburn. However, this does not mean that your skin is protected from all UV effects. Damage to your skin, other than sunburning, may have already started.

The SPF varies depending on the nature of the sunblocking ingredients in the product. Since the SPF refers only to protection against UVB, it is important to choose a "broad spectrum" sunscreen that also protects you from UVA radiation.

How Sunscreens Protect Your Health

There are many different brands of sunscreen available. They are classified according to their active ingredients, as some products contain chemical filters, some contain physical filters, and some contain both.

* Chemical filters absorb some of the UV radiation and convert it into heat. There are more chemical filters that absorb UVB rays than absorb UVA rays.
* Physical filters are small particles (usually zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) that scatter and reflect both UVB and UVA rays.

Minimizing Your Risk

Protect your health by using a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Look for claims on the label indicating that the product has staying power (e.g., water resistant, very water resistant, waterproof).

For best results, be sure to follow the instructions on the product label. Use the recommended amount of sunscreen and respect the waiting period between application and exposure to the sun. Reapply sunscreen 20 minutes after you go out, so that the product stabilizes on your skin and gives you maximum protection. If you are sweating heavily or swimming, reapply sunscreen frequently to get the best protection.

Here are other steps that Health Canada recommends you take to protect against UV exposure:

* If possible, avoid being in the sun between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
* Look for shade, stay under a tree, or use an umbrella.
* During outdoor activities, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. When the UV index is three or higher, you should also wear protective clothing and a large-brimmed hat.
* Remember to apply sunscreen to all exposed areas of your skin.

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