With summer weather comes sunny skies, and it can be easy to forget to lather on sunscreen before heading outside. Regardless of whether you’re fair skinned or have a naturally dark complexion, it’s important to protect your skin from sunburns and prevent skin cancer.
Olivia Caron, media relations officer for Health Canada, explains the risk of getting skin cancer is higher than ever.
“The Earth’s ozone layer is not as thick as it used to be and more ultraviolet radiation from the sun is reaching the Earth,” Caron explains. “As a result, the occurrence of skin cancer has been increasing in Canada at a fairly constant rate over the past 30 years.”
According to Caron, in 1987 there were 20,300 cases of non-melanoma skin cancers identified in Canada, and over 75,500 new cases reported in 2010. With such an increase, it’s important to apply sunscreen every time you leave the house.
“Health Canada recommends using a sunscreen lotion that is SPF 15 or more,” Caron says. “A sunscreen that says ‘broad-spectrum’ on the label will best help protect against UVA and UVB rays. Products making such a claim must contain both a UVB absorber and a UVA absorber.”
Although there are several different brands and types of sunscreen lotions on the market, it is not necessary to buy different sunscreens for different parts of the body. Make sure to choose a lotion that suits both your lifestyle and skin type, and be sure to reapply as instructed on the label.
If you still love looking golden in the summer, use sunless tanners instead of tanning beds – they give you colour without putting your health at risk.
“There is no such thing as a safe tan – it is important to take steps to avoid overexposure to ultraviolet radiation,” Caron says. “It is not recommended to use tanning equipment, especially for young adults who are at a much greater risk.”