Protecting against skin cancer year round
While the rate of new cancer cases and death rates for many types of cancers are going down, Melanoma or –skin cancer- is on the rise. It is the most common cancer in Canada affecting one in five people today. A tan, especially among young people, is associated with attractiveness and looking healthy, but there is no such thing as a healthy tan.
Some alarming facts from the Canadian Cancer Society:
- Melanoma is the most common and deadliest forms of cancer in young people between the ages of 15 and 29.
- Using a tanning bed before the age of thirty-fi e increases your risk of developing skin cancer by 75 per cent.
- UV rays from tanning beds can be five times stronger than the mid-day summer sun.
- Tanned skin is damaged skin. Even when the tan fades, the damage is still there. While it’s wonderful to feel the warmth of the summer sun and enjoy the outdoors, there are also risks.
Here are a few ways, recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation, to protect yourself from the sun:
- The sun is most intense between 10 AM and 4 PM –so seek the shade between those hours.
- Do not burn.
- Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens can be used on babies if needed, over the age of six months.
- Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
- See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.
- If you are a beachgoer, remember the intensity of sun exposure is elevated. Both water and sand can refl up to 80 percent of the sun’s rays, however, beach and pool activities can be enjoyed safely as long as you take extra precautions and use plenty of sunscreen.
- For effective ultraviolent A (UVA) radiation protection, select products that have some combination of the following ingredients: avobenzone, ecamsule (a.k.a. MexorylTM), oxybenzone, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
- Everyday sun exposure counts, and sun protection is required year round. While we mostly think about protecting ourselves against the sun during the summer months, protection should be year round to reduce your lifetime sun exposure. So make putting on sunscreen a daily habit.