For the first time in twenty years, Canada's Sun Safety Guidelines have been updated and changed. This leaves the question - are we taking the proper precautions when it comes to sun burn and skin cancer for our kids and ourselves? Changes have been made as to when you should totally avoid the sun, and what kind of SPF you should look for on your sunscreen. If you spend time outdoors, then you definitely need to make note of these changes.
The Canadian Cancer Society collaborated with 27 other organizations like Cancer Care Ontario and the Canadian Dermatology Association to come up with these new updates for sun safety. They've come together to make one guideline, rather than having multiple (which is more confusing). They jumped on these updates when it was discovered that in Canada, the sun is strong enough to cause skin cancer. Thus, the skin cancer rates are climbing.
Here are the updates:
When Should You Avoid The Sun?
The sun's UV rays are the strongest between 11 AM and 3 PM. This is the time frame when the UV index is over three. This is usually during the late spring/entire summer.
If you do happen to become exposed to the sun during those crucial times, be sure to take extra precautions by doing the following. Perhaps you need to get your hands on a Suni Anti-UV Sun and Play Tent?
Sunscreen Isn't The Only Answer
Everyone automatically assumes that sunblock will protect them - but that is not always the best solution. Sunscreen is definitely a good thing to use to protect your skin, but you can also protect yourself by covering up as much as possible with clothing labelled to be UV-protective. Also don't forget to wear your hat! Amazon.ca has quite a variety of UV-protective clothing. Have a look here.
If you can't tell if your clothing is UV-protective, simply hold the fabric up to some light and if you don't see the light come through, it should work. Also keep in mind that your eyes can get sunburn as well - and sun shades or a wide brimmed hat are very important.
Higher SPF Sunscreen
Believe it or not, the previous guideline only called for an SPF of 15. Now, the Sun Safety Guidelines are urging Canadians to use SPF 30 at minimum. You also want to make sure that your sunscreen is labelled to be water resistant and broad-spectrum. This Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Sunscreen Lotion is my personal favourite for myself. For the kids, try out the Banana Boat Kids Natural Reflect Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50.
When applying sunscreen - apply liberally. Also get a helping hand to be sure you didn't miss anywhere. I know I often miss the back of my neck and elbows.
If you have history of skin cancer in your family, then you can opt for an even higher SPF. SPF 30 will cover about 97% of UVB rays - but you may need more coverage if you are high risk.
Some Other Sun Safety Tips
Sunscreen and hats won't solve all the problems. In the heat of the day, be sure to follow these tips as well:
- Keep an eye on shade - ever seen people walking around with a parasol in the summer? Get your hands on this one for $19.50.
- Wide brimmed hats save all - protect your ears, face, head, neck and yes even your eyes with a wide brimmed hat.
- Sunglasses - protect your eyes from sunburn by wearing sunglasses that fit close to your face and have UVA/UVB protection
- Keep hydrated - stay cool and hydrated to avoid heat illness. Hydration will also help your skin heal faster. I have a water bottle with a clip that easily attaches to my bike, stroller, purse, etc. Get the clip on Amazon.ca for $0.70.
- Avoid tanning beds - there is no safe way to use an indoor tanning bed.
- Check out the UV index forecast - the weather apps and channels will tell you the UV index forecast for your area. If it is higher than 3, be sure to wear protective clothing, sunscreen and sunglasses.
How do you keep your family safe from the sun's rays?