Staying Safe in the Sun
Saskatoon is one of the sunniest cities across Canada, and as temperatures rise with summer approaching it is quite appropriate to discuss sun safety. Below is a list of sun safe practices to help everyone have fun and stay safe during the summer.
- Check the UV index daily. The UV index is important as it tells you the strength of the sun’s daily UV rays. Higher numbers indicate stronger sunrays, and exposures that are moderate or greater need greater precautions when outside. The sunlight in Canada is strong enough to cause skin cancer, and this is why it is so important that we all apply sun safe practices to our everyday lives.
|0 – 2||Low|
|3 – 5||Moderate|
|6 – 7||High|
|8 – 10||Very high|
- Limit your time in the sun. The UV rays from the sun are strongest between the hours of 10:00am and 4:00pm. Everyone should do their best to limit the amount of time they spend in the sun during these hours, as skin is more easily burned.
- Seek shade. This is extra important during the times at which the sun’s rays are the strongest, to help limit exposure and prevent burns.
- Cover up. Tightly woven, and loosely fitting clothing is best to wear as it can provide additional protection from the sun. It is also important to be wearing a hat when outdoors. Your best choice is a wide brimmed hat, as it will protect your eyes, ears, face, and the back of your neck from the sun.
- Wearing sunglasses. The sun can damage your eyes, and the best way to protect them is to wear sunglasses that provide 99-100% protection from both UVA and UVB radiation.
- Properly use sunscreen. It is recommended that everyone use a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 15 or 30. Broad-spectrum sunscreens are important because they will protect against both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. UVA rays make up most of the sun’s natural light and can penetrate deep into the skin to cause wrinkles and premature aging whereas UVB rays are the main cause of sunburns. SPF in sunscreen is the sun protection factor and measures the ability to protect your skin from UVB radiation. However, higher SPF is not always better. Sunscreens do not provide 100% protection no matter how high the SPF is, and therefore any SPF greater than 30 does not provide much added benefit. Sunscreens should be applied 20-30 minutes prior to sun exposure and reapplied generously every 2 hours or after drying off from swimming or sweating.
- Avoid indoor tanning beds. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation does not only come from the sun but also indoor tanning equipment such as tanning beds and sun lamps. These are not to be considered safe alternatives as any amount of UV exposure has inherent risks. Some of these risks include, but are not limited to sunburn, heat stroke and skin cancer. Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, but also considered one of the most preventable if sun safe practices are utilized.
- Know the signs of skin cancer. Regularly checking your skin for any new growth or change can help with early detection of skin cancer. And most skin cancers, if caught early enough, can be cured.