Being sun safe
Skin cancer is on the rise. The good news is that skin cancer is preventable.
Be sun safe
Follow these simple steps:
Reduce sun exposure between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
- When possible, plan your outdoor activities before 11 a.m. and after 3 p.m. The sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays are the strongest between these times.
- When the UV Index is 3 or higher, protect your skin as much as possible. In general, the UV Index in Canada can be 3 or higher from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. between April to September, even when it’s cloudy.
Check the UV Index daily
- The higher the UV Index number, the stronger the sun’s rays and the greater the need to take precautions.
Seek out or create shade for outdoor activities
- Trees can reduce UV radiation by up to 50%. No trees nearby? Seek shade under an umbrella or shade structures.
- Remember the Shadow Rule…. No shadow, seek shade!
Cover up with clothing
- Wear clothes that cover as much skin as possible and a hat with a wide brim; they should suit the activity and weather.
- Clothing designed to cover as much skin as possible will offer the best protection.
- Many manufacturers now offer materials that can protect you from the sun. These fabrics come with different degrees of protection and are rated with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF).
- When choosing clothing, look for a UPF of 15 to 50 or higher. This fabric will allow only 2% to 6% of the UV radiation to pass through, blocking at least 94% of UV rays from reaching your skin.
- Weave and colour can affect the UPF of fabric. Look for fabrics that have a tight weave and dark colour. Darker colours absorb more UV radiation and provide better sun protection.
Think about it: If you raise your clothing up to light and light passes through, the sun’s rays will do the same and expose you to UV radiation.
Wear a wide-brimmed hat
- A wide-brimmed hat can protect the head, face, ears and neck from harmful UV rays.
- Apply plenty of sunscreen with SPF 30 or more, labelled “broad spectrum” and “water resistant”. Reapply when needed (especially after swimming, sweating, or toweling). Use a lip balm with a SPF 30 or higher to protect your lips.
Protect your eyes
- Wear close fitting/wrap-around sunglasses (Government of Canada) with UV 400 or 100% UV protection.
Prevent heat-related illness
- The combination of high heat and high humidity can cause heat-related illness. Read more on how to beat the heat.
National steering committee for consensus on content for sun safety messages. The recommended core content for sun safety messages in Canada (May 2018). Report on the 2014/15 National Consensus Process – Expanded report. Integration of documents previously reviewed by the National Steering Committee for Consensus on Content for Sun Safety Messages. Updated May 2018.
Canadian Dermatology Association (2020). Sun Safety for Every Day. Retrieved from https://dermatology.ca/public-patients/sun-protection/sun-safety-every-day/ on July 21, 2020.
Healthy Canadians – Government of Canada (2018). Sun Safety. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/sun-safety.html on July 22, 2020.
Canadian Cancer Society (2020). What to wear to protect your skin from the sun. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.ca/en/prevention-and-screening/reduce-cancer-risk/make-healthy-choices/be-sun-safe/what-to-wear-to-protect-your-skin-from-the-sun/?region=on July 22, 2020.
This item was last modified on August 27, 2020