In the warm summer months, it’s hard to resist the urge to spend time in the sun soaking up the warmth – especially with how long our winters are in Canada! Although our summer has not been particularly sunny, any exposure to sunlight can cause damage – including when it is cloudy. Even if it isn’t a sunny day, there are some important steps to take to reduce your risk of developing melanoma (skin cancer). Nanny Angel Network shares our top 5 tips to stay sun safe and protect your skin!
- Stay in the shade when possible, whether this means under a beach umbrella or a tree – the best shade protects from above and from the sides, such as a gazebo!
- Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and long pants, skirts, or maxi dresses made from tightly-woven fabrics, such as polyester. You can also find specially made UV-protective clothing that block both UVA and UVB rays. The most important thing is to limit how much skin is being exposed to the sunlight!
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your neck, head, and face. The brim should go around the entire hat to ensure that you are completely protected!
- Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen to all exposed skin. A minimum SPF of 30 is recommended by doctors. Make sure you check the bottle for directions on when to reapply! The skin of your lips is also susceptible to burns – lip balm with a minimum SPF of 30 should be applied to protect your lips.
- Wear good quality sunglasses with 99% or 100% UVA and UVB absorption. The best sunglasses have frames that fit close to the face and are wraparound, protecting the eyes from exposure to sunlight from the sides. These are especially important to help reduce the risk of ocular melanoma!
The sun’s rays are strongest between 11am and 4pm, making it even more important to follow these tips during those hours. You should also make sure you are drinking lots of cool liquids if you’re spending a lot of time in the sun and heat – even if you don’t yet feel thirsty!
While most people spend far more time outside during the summer, it is important to remember these tips in the winter, and even when it isn’t sunny. Sunlight reflects off of clouds, potentially causing damage to skin even on cloudy days. Snow has a similar effect in the winter – you’ve probably seen someone come back from a ski trip with goggle tan (a bonus tip for skiers: check your googles for their UV protection rating before hitting the slopes!). Keep wearing sunscreen and sunglasses all year round, have fun, and stay safe!