Information Update - Important sunscreen safety tips for Canadians

OTTAWA, June 1, 2018 /CNW/ - Health Canada would like to remind Canadians to protect themselves and their families from the sun. Exposure to the sun's harmful UV rays without sunscreen can cause much more than a sunburn. It can lead to sun damage (such as skin wrinkling and hardening, dark patches, precancerous skin changes) and can increase the risk of skin cancer.

There are many sunscreen products available in Canada. It is important to choose a sunscreen with the level of sun protection factor (SPF) that is right for you. The SPF tells you the level of protection that the sunscreen provides against sunburn. It also tells you the length of time that your sunscreen-protected skin can be exposed before it starts to get red.

Health Canada recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. At this time, Health Canada does not have enough scientific information demonstrating that products with SPF higher than 50 provide additional protection.


                              Sunscreen safety tips

    Choose a high SPF                     Protect your health by using a
                                          broad-spectrum sunscreen with a
                                          Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at
                                          least 30. The sunscreen should
                                          also say "broad-spectrum" on the
                                          label, to screen out most of the
                                          UVA and UVB rays.
    -----------------                    ----------------------------------

    Sunscreens and babies                 Do not put sunscreen on babies less
                                          than 6 months of age. Keep them
                                          out of the sun and heat as their
                                          skin and bodies are much more
                                          sensitive than an adult's.

                                          A sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher
                                          should be applied to babies over 6
                                          months of age.
    ---                                  ----------------------------------

    Look for water resistant              Look for claims on the label that
                                          the product stays on better in
                                          water (water resistant, very water
    ------------------------             ----------------------------------

    Read application instructions         For best results, be sure to follow
                                          the instructions on the product
    -----------------------------        -----------------------------------

    Use lots of it                        Use the recommended amount of
    --------------                       ------------------------------

    Read application instructions         For best results, be sure to follow
                                          the instructions on the product
    -----------------------------        -----------------------------------

    Apply it often                        Apply sunscreen before heading
                                          outside and use a generous amount.
                                          Reapply 20 minutes after going
                                          outside and at least every 2 hours
                                          after that. Cover exposed areas
                                          generously, including ears, nose,
                                          the tops of feet and backs of
                                          knees. Reapply sunscreen often to
                                          get the best possible protection
                                          especially if you are swimming or
                                          sweating heavily.
    --------------                       -----------------------------------

    Protect yourself                      Sunscreen and insect repellents can
                                          be used safely together. Apply the
                                          sunscreen first, then the insect
    ----------------                     -----------------------------------

    Test for an allergic reaction         Before using any product on you or
                                          your child check for an allergic
                                          reaction, especially if you have
                                          sensitive skin. Apply it to a
                                          small patch of skin on the inner
                                          forearm for several days in a row.
                                          If the skin turns red or otherwise
                                          reacts, change products.
    -----------------------------        -----------------------------------

    Prescription drugs and over-the-      Some prescription drugs and over-
     counter products                     the-counter products may make
                                          your skin more sensitive to UV
                                          rays. Speak to a healthcare
                                          provider (such as a doctor,
                                          pharmacist, or nurse) if you have
                                          any questions about which
                                          sunscreen is appropriate for you.
    --------------------------------     ----------------------------------


Health Canada is in the process of reviewing the safety of various sunscreen products and will share the results in the coming weeks. The Department will take immediate action and inform Canadians should a safety concern be identified with any sunscreen product sold in Canada.

Report health or safety concerns
To report a side effect to a health product to Health Canada:

  • Call toll-free at 1-866-234-2345
  • Visit Health Canada's web page on Adverse Reaction Reporting for information on how to report online, by mail or by fax.

Stay connected with Health Canada and receive the latest advisories and product recalls using social media tools.

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Media Inquiries: Health Canada, (613) 957-2983; Public Inquiries: (613) 957-2991, 1-866 225-0709

SOURCE Health Canada


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