The sun is out, the weather is warm, and millions of us will be heading out to enjoy our wonderful Canadian outdoors, to outdoor sporting events, or just fro a BBQ in the back yard.
Perhaps the most essential item of ‘kit’ for these events is sunscreen, even in an urban environment like London ON. Even on cloudy days, the effect of UV can be increased due to reflections on water, sand and even concrete. So, why is it so important to keep your skin safe in the sun?
Sun protection and skin protection
In 1981, the internationally recognized “slip, slop, slap” campaign was launched on Australian TV. This cheery sun protection commercial encouraged Australians to “slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat”. Other countries soon began to follow suit, and today, there is increasing evidence that these and other skin protection campaigns really do work. In 2014, Australia was first to announce an improvement in skin cancer rates, for example. Between 2000 and 2011, for those aged 25 to 34, Medicare data showed a reduction of 2% in skin cancer treatment, with a 1% reduction in 35-44 year-olds.
Understanding the ultraviolet index
Over 80,000 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in Canada each year, more than 5,000 of which are melanoma. In 1992, Canada was the first country in the world to issue daily ultraviolet (UV) index forecasts for major cities. The UV index was developed by Environment Canada to give Canadians vital information about the strength of the sun’s UV radiation and advise on the most appropriate protection. The guidelines are as follows:
It’s simple to be sunsafe
- Take cover Wear sunscreen when the UV index reaches 3 or above even if it’s cloudy. Use sunscreen labelled “broad spectrum” and “water resistant” and at least SPF 30.
- Look cool! Choose sunglasses which protect from both UVA and UVB, and wear hats with a wide brim.
- Stay cool and hydrated Drink plenty of cool liquids, especially water. Don’t wait to get thirsty. Drink regularly, especially if it is hot and humid.
- Avoid tanning equipment There is no such thing as a ‘healthy’ tan. Using tanning equipment damages your skin and increases your risk of developing skin cancer.
5 top tips for babies and children
Extreme heat from the sun can be especially dangerous for babies and young children who burn more easily. The Government of Canada advises:
- Keep babies under 12 months out of direct sunlight.
- Keep all young children out of the sun between 11 and 3.
- Cover children with light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants. For added protection choose clothes and swimwear with a built-in SPF 50 and always use sunscreen. (Check with your healthcare provider before using sunscreen on babies less than 6 months old.)
- Children need to get used to wearing sunscreen from an early age. Apply liberally and pay close attention to face, lips, ears, neck, shoulders, back, knees, and the tops of their feet.
- Keep children hydrated with plenty of cool liquids. Water is always best.
AMG: keeping you sun savvy
Our expert team at the Rexall Pharmacy is always happy to give sun protection advice and to help you choose from their large range of sunscreens. Alternatively, combine sun safety with fashion eyewear. Drop into Advanced Vision Care and check out the stunning selection of boutique frames for prescription and non-prescription sunglasses. It’s all under one roof at AMG, 230 Victoria Street!