4 tips to protect your skin from the sun


May is Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month in Canada, a time to remind Canadians about sun safety and the importance of protecting their skin. As summer approaches, many of us are spending more time outdoors enjoying the warm weather. While basking in the sun’s golden rays can feel great, it is important to be diligent about sun safety. Most skin cancers are a result of exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) in sunlight. In the past 25 years, there has been a significant increase in melanoma diagnoses. The good news is you can minimize your chances of developing skin cancer by taking precautions.


Before you head outdoors, here are 4 things to consider to help maximize your sun safety:


Limit the time you spend in the sun.  If you can, try to avoid it altogether during the middle of the day (between 11 a.m. and at least 3 p.m.).

Cover up. Wear a hat, sunglasses and clothing designed to protect you from sunlight. Staying in the shade and covering up is more effective than sunscreen for reducing cancer risk. It is important to cover up and apply sunscreen even when the temperature is low, the sun isn't out in full force or there's a cooling breeze: you don't have to be feeling the heat to suffer sunburn and skin damage!

Use good quality sunscreen. A water-resistant, broad-spectrum coverage sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 is recommended and should be reapplied frequently throughout the day.

Be careful when near water, sand, or snow. The sun’s rays reflect and can be harmful.


Keep yourself safe to reduce your cancer risk while enjoying the great outdoors and all it has to offer.

Featured Resources

Get the latest content first. Sign up for free weekly email alerts.
Author Details

DISCLAIMER: Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of these blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations such as social distancing and frequent hand washing. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with current social distancing recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website

Want the latest in aging research? Sign up for our email alerts.

Support for the Portal is largely provided by the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative. AGE-WELL is a contributing partner. Help us to continue to provide direct and easy access to evidence-based information on health and social conditions to help you stay healthy, active and engaged as you grow older. Donate Today.

© 2012 - 2020 McMaster University | 1280 Main Street West | Hamilton, Ontario L8S4L8 | +1 905-525-9140 | Terms Of Use