On June 6, the Canadian Cancer Society released updated sun safety recommendations following a collaboration with national health partners. This is the first time in 20 years that there has been a nationwide consensus on how Canadians should best protect themselves from the sun. Rates of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, continue to rise even though it is one of the most preventable cancers. The following are the key updates to sun safety recommendations:
- Peak times to cover up: be extra vigilant about protecting your skin between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. (previously it was between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.). This is when the UV index is 3 or more, typically between April and September.
- Clothing is better: cover up as much as possible with tightly woven or UV-protective labelled clothing. Clothes generally provide better protection than sunscreen.
- Higher SPF: use a sunscreen with a minimum skin protection factor (SPF) of 30 (previously it was SPF 15). Sunscreen should be labelled “broad-spectrum” and “water resistant.”
Don’t forget to:
- Seek shade, like a tree or an awning, or bring your own, such as an umbrella.
- Wear a hat with a wide brim to protect your head, face, ears, neck and eyes.
- Wear close-fitting sunglasses in a wraparound style with full UVA/UVB protection.
- Never use indoor tanning beds.
- Get your vitamin D from your diet or by taking vitamin supplements rather than through UV ray exposure.