Be sun safe to help reduce your skin cancer risk

15 July 2020

As we head into summer and start spending more time outside, it’s important to remember sun safety. While skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, it’s also one of the most preventable. Being sun safe will help reduce skin cancer risk as well as premature aging of the skin and harm to your eyes.

We all know the basic sun safety tips such as, seeking shade, covering up with protective clothing, hats and sunglasses and wearing sunscreen. Today, we’d like to share 5 lesser known sun safety tips to keep in mind while having fun in the sun!

1. Check the UV Index daily

The UV Index is a useful tool when it comes to protecting yourself from the sun. It tells you the strength of the sun’s daily UV rays – the higher the number, the stronger the sun’s rays and the more important it is to protect yourself. Be sure to look up the UV Index on your favourite weather app or on the local weather or news channel. On days when the UV Index reaches 3 (moderate) or more, you need to be extra careful to protect your skin. This time of year, the sun’s rays are usually at their strongest between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. 

2. Wear sunscreen properly

This tip may seem obvious, but it’s important to know the correct way to wear sunscreen. The Canadian Cancer Society recommends applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher. If you’ll be swimming or sweating, make sure your sunscreen is also water-resistant. And don’t forget to reapply a generous amount at least every 2 hours! Learn more about sunscreen on Sunscreen 101.

3. Hats – the bigger the better

When it comes to hats, the bigger the better as it provides more coverage. Many skin cancers develop on the face and neck and these areas need extra protection. Wear a hat with a wide brim that covers your head, face, ears and neck. Hats like baseball caps won’t give you enough protection.

4. Wear tightly woven clothing

Although UV protective clothing is specially designed to block UV rays, there is an alternative, more affordable option. Any tightly woven clothing will also do a great job at protecting your skin from the sun’s rays. To tell if a piece of clothing is tightly woven or not, simply hold up it up to the light and see how much light passes through.

5. Kids with shades

Not only do children look adorable with a pair of sunglasses, more importantly, it also helps to protect their eyes from the sun. As soon as they can wear sunglasses, get your child a pair of close-fitting, wraparound sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection.

For more tips and resources on sun safety, visit cancer.ca/sunsafety.