The Marilyn Denis Show | Protect Your Skin this Summer

Protect Your Skin this Summer

We all know we need to be protecting our skin from the sun – but sometimes that’s easier said than done.  Did you know that just walking to your car or out to get lunch can cause real damage to your skin? On the weekend if we’re outside in the backyard, at a pool or on vacation we remember SPF but it’s actually the exposure we get during the day, just running out for 15 minutes to get lunch during the workweek that can add up and really cause damage to our skin.

Approximately 80% of cumulative lifetime UV damage is due to incidental sun exposure – the kind you get from doing everyday activities when thought of wearing sunscreen aren’t on your mind.

Of course the best way to make sure you’re not overexposure to UV damage is to:

  • Avoid the most direct rays between 10-4 (or for long periods of time)
  • Use a daily moisturizer or sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 30 and broad spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays


We can’t always remember to wear sunscreen. Wearing any tightly woven fabric – like a heavy cotton or denim will protect your skin from UV rays, but in the summer that’s not practical – and the harmful rays can actually penetrate through most other light fabrics – which is what we’re wearing in the summer. But what if you forgot your sunscreen. What can we do?
  • An easy way to cover up at lunch is with hats and wraps that you keep at your desk. This hat from Wallaroo contains  UPF50, so in most cases it’s even better than slathering on sunscreen. $Price to come,
  • And this sarong from Sunveil also contains UPF50 and makes a great wrap to put over your bare shoulders when you’re sitting outside on a sunny patio. I even think it would be nice to have a few of these for when your girlfriends come over for brunch in the backyard, to offer them so they don’t get sunburned. Sunveil is actually 100% Canadian, the product is made in Canada and after 26 years in business, they’re the oldest company in the world manufacturing sun protective apparel. Sarong, $52,
  • As for sunglasses, it’s hard to avoid wanting to get the latest trendy, inexpensive sunnies. But those ones you can pick up for $10 often have little or no UV protection. What you want to make sure is that there’s a sticker or tag somewhere on the glasses telling you the UV protection factor. These ones from Josephson Opticians are quality sunglasses, and give 100% protection from UVA & UVB.
  • If you wear contact lenses, you can actually get ones like Acuvue Oasys (I wear these and love them), which blocks greater than 96% of UVA rays and 99% of UVB rays – then you can wear the inexpensive trendy sunglasses and not worry – but make sure to still wear sunscreen to protect the area around your eyes.


Of course, wearing sunscreen is the most obvious way to cover up your skin no matter what you’re wearing.  You want to apply at least a shot glass full of sunscreen to each part of your body – so for your arms, your face/neck/ears/chest, your legs. And you have to apply it at least 30 min before you go out in the sun, for it to be fully effective. Then you have to reapply every 2-4 hours.
  • Years ago there were sunblocks on the market, but no longer because nothing can actually block the sun. When it comes to SPF, 15 or more means a product lowers the risk of skin cancer and aging. Anything lower only prevents sunburn.
  • Broad spectrum means the sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB – both of which can lead to skin cancer. UVA causes more wrinkles. UVB causes sunburns.
  • Waterproof sunscreen is a great way to make sure it doesn’t slide off if you sweat, even when you go out at lunch because you’re often wearing more clothes than you’d normally wear in hot weather b/c you’re in an air conditioned office. Banana Boat Sport Sunscreen, $XX.
  • A lot of people are concerned about chemicals in sunscreens. The higher the SPF the more chemicals in the product. Dermalogica Solar Defense Booster SPF 50 actually contains oleosome encapsulation technology, which means that it actually takes it from being an SPF30 up to a 50 but without the added chemicals typical products would have that are a 50 (since the higher the SPF, the more chemicals). You can wear this alone and then apply your moisturizer or foundation overtop, or mix this with your moisturizer or foundation -- this way you don't have to change your skin care routine in the summer, you keep it the same, which is good b/c sometimes changing too much can wreak havoc on your skin.
  • Another way to avoid chemicals is to try an all-natural sunscreen like Green Beaver Certified Organic SPF 30 Adult Body Lotion, $21.99. It’s Canadian made and the first ever organic sunscreen in Canada. It contains zinc oxide  so it’s not chemically altered. Zinc oxide doesn’t enter the bloodstream.  
  • If you want to speed up your time in the morning look for a tinted moisturizer - Smashbox Camera Ready 5-in-1 SPF 35, I like that the SPF is higher than most on this one, and it's great for reapplication during the day because it's a tinted moisturizer so it will just blend with your natural makeup whereas if you apply a sunscreen overtop you can feel like you're wiping away your foundation that you applied in the morning. Available in 5 Shades: Fair, Light, Light/Medium, Medium and Dark. $50, At Sephora.
  • Of course, reapplication can be tricky since you don’t want to undo all the makeup and blush you applied in the morning. Elizabeth Arden mineral loose powder line SPF 20, in 8 shades. This solves your problem of what to do midday to touch up your SPF - you just repowder, which is perfect because you can get so sweaty from the sun and heat anyway
  • Finally, you can’t forget about your lips since they can just as easily get burned and damaged by the sun. COVERGIRL NatureLuxe Gloss Balm SPF 15 in 16 shades, $11.99. The colour means you can just swap it for any typical lipgloss, or apply it over your lipstick for protection.

UVA / UVB Protection and Tints

UV protection is a coating that is not visible and has no relation to the tint or density of colour on lenses. They do more harm than good as the pupil dilates because of the tint and allows more UV into the eye causing UV burn and can cause cataracts.
  • Look for lenses that are 100% UVA and UVB protection
  • Be careful of lenses that only state UV protection and do not clearly state the percentage
  • Purchase sunglasses from an optical store where the optician can guide you to the best fitted and best protective sunglasses
  • Optical stores carry sunglasses that have 100% UV protection
  • Be careful of sunglasses that are very low priced as they tend not to have 100% UV protection and the lenses are not optically ground causing distortions.
  • Ultra-violet radiation poses a major threat to children. The World Health Organization estimates that 80% of a person’s lifetime exposure to UV radiation is received before the age of 18. Any UV damage is cumulative over time. The eye doesn’t respond like the skin and heal.
  • The eye’s first defense is the cornea. According to research by Dr. Jan Bergmanson, the filtering ability of the cornea decreases when it becomes thinner, thus increasing the potential risks of UV damage in the eye if anyone has had refractive laser surgery (lasik).
  • The lens inside the eye, is the primary natural ocular filter of UV rays, but in adults, it is only mildly protective. In young children, UV radiation protective chromophores, normally present in adults, are virtually absent. Seventy-five percent (75%) of the incident UV light is transmitted through the cornea and lens of a child as compared to only 25% transmitted through the ocular system of those over 25 years of age. This aspect puts children at particular risk since 80% of lifetime UV exposure may happen by age 18. Further, children have larger pupils than adults. Thus, young children are very prone to damaging UV radiation and should start wearing UV protective sunglasses as soon as they are taken outside, even, as babies.
  • Given that 80 % of a person’s lifetime exposure occurs before the age of 18, it should become mandatory that all children wear UV protection whenever they are outside. Protecting your child’s eyes now will decrease the potential for serious eye problems later in life. Both sunglasses and new UV protective contact lenses will protect the eyes. It is always remarkable to me when I see adults walking outside, wearing "cool" looking or protective sunglasses, but their accompanying children often are unprotected.
UVA/UVB Protection information provided by Josephson Opticians.