Summer is here and as the days get longer and the sun shines brighter, many Canadians eagerly head outside for fun in the sun. But premature aging and skin cancer aren’t so entertaining.
Each year, skin cancer affects more than 80,000 Canadians. In 2022, it is estimated that 9,000 Canadians were diagnosed with melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.
Ultraviolet or UV radiation is known to be the culprit in 85 per cent of skin cancer cases. It can also lead to wrinkles, which are often unwelcome though not dangerous. Fortunately, there are several ways we can keep dangerous UV rays at bay to prevent many skin cancers.
High SPFs and proper application are key to protecting your skin
When protecting your family from harmful UV rays, sun protection factor, known as SPF, is an important consideration. Whether using physical sunscreens that lay on the surface of the skin or chemical sunscreens that penetrate deep into the layers of the skin, a higher SPF will provide more protection.
While many of us understand the importance of using a sunscreen, studies show most people don’t apply enough sunscreen with a high SPF and in fact, are getting only half of what we need. It’s also recommended that to be protective, sunscreens need to be applied every two to three hours, and if you’re swimming or sweating, more frequently than that.
Here are a few additional tips I pass on to my patients to stay safe and protect themselves from skin cancers, wrinkles, and premature aging when UV rays are at their highest:
- Use a sunscreen every day in winter or summer, rain, or shine, indoors or outdoors as UVA rays can penetrate clouds and glass windows, damaging our skin and causing early aging.
- Apply sunscreen to your hands and neck.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat that covers your neck and ears.
- Wear sunglasses to protect the delicate skin around the eyes.
- Stay in the shade and limit exposure to the sun between 10 am and 2 pm.
- Avoid using tanning beds. Early exposure to tanning beds can increase a person’s chance of developing melanoma by up to 75 per cent.
- Incorporate a good skincare routine into your day using high quality sunscreens, exfoliants and antioxidants to keep skin bright and youthful.
Find more tips and advice on maintaining healthy skin at caretoknow.ca.