May is Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month in Canada and the beginning of summer weather. It is a great time to remind Canadians about sun safety and skin protection. With the arrival of nicer weather, many of us spend more time outdoors enjoying the warm weather. While basking in the sun’s golden rays can feel great, it is crucial to be diligent about sun safety. Most skin cancers result from 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 that taking precautions can minimize your chances of developing skin cancer.
Before you head outdoors, here are a few things to consider to 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. Covering up and applying sunscreen even when the temperature is low, the sun isn't out in full force, or there's a cooling breeze is essential. You don't have to feel 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 and sand. 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 offers.