Let’s face it. When the sun comes out in Canada – we celebrate, we stand outside opening our arms and gladly welcoming the warm against our long unforgiving winters. As much as we love that warmth feeling, it is important to know just the extent of damage that sun can directly cause. Let’s take a little true or false quiz.

True or false?

(See answers below)

  1. A tan protects us from sun damage.
  2. You only need to wear sunscreen in the summer season in Canada.
  3. About two or three tablespoons of sunscreen is sufficient to cover your entire body.Happy couple riding bicycles outside, healthy lifestyle fun concept
  4. I gave up on my sun worshipping in my mid 20’s so my skin should still be ok for aging.
  5. When purchasing sunscreen shop for broad spectrum lotions.


  1. False. A tan is clear evidence that you have already achieved sun damage.
  2. False. Harmful UVA and UVB rays penetrate from the sky and through the clouds all year around. The difference is you can get away with a lower SPF (Sun Protective Factor) in the winter versus in the summer. Regardless of the the time of year and SPF of 30 is the minimum recommended for everyone.
  3. True. If you apply a very think layer, the nasty rays will get through it. You need a think coat across your body and don’t forget your face and neck. (Avoiding the neck gives us lovely turkey necks over time.) One teaspoon is sufficient for your face and neck covering.
  4. False. The more frequent and longer your skin is exposed to the sun (or also tanning beds), the more prevalent sun damage will be which looks like brown spots, wrinkles, dryness and a higher risk of skin cancer. Usually the effects appear as much as 20 – 30 years after the first sun damage occurs.
  5. True. Both UVA and UVB rays cause damage, so it is important to apply lotions that will protect against them both.

How did you do? Hopefully some of the information paints a better picture for you and just how important it is to look after our skin. And lastly, don’t forget to use a lip balm with an SPF of 30 as well. These kissable tissues need some love too!

Karla Heintz (BSc) Nutrition Educator and Author of ‘Picky! Not Me Mom! A parents’ guide to children’s nutrition.