While you enjoy beautiful summer days along the Halifax waterfront or hiking trails in the province, there are ways to protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays.
In 2017, about 7,300 Canadians were diagnosed with skin cancer known as melanoma, as reported by the Melanoma Network of Canada. "The main cause of melanoma is overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or artificial sources (tanning beds, sunbeds)," notes the website.
Despite this health risk, Dr. says. Peter Green, professor of dermatology at Dalhousie University and practicing dermatologist at the IWK Health Center and QEII Health Sciences Center, does not mean that people should avoid going outside. It simply means that people have to protect themselves if they do so.
Here are some ways to stay safe in the sun, according to Green:
• Avoid spending time outside between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the morning. This is when the UV index is highest.
• Wear protective clothing that the Canadian Cancer Society gives as sunglasses, hats, UV protective clothing and tightly woven fabrics.
• Sweating or drying after swimming can rub off sunburn, so be sure to apply again.
• Check medication warnings as they can suggest long periods in the sun.
• If the UV index is above three, it is suggested that people keep the sun protection in mind.
• Remember, even if it is cloudy outside. Eighty percent of the sun's radiation can still get through the clouds.
When it comes to solarium, Green says he wants people to avoid it altogether. "It is not safe to get a tan outside, so we try to discourage people's desire for color, because this tanning culture is overexposed over time."
For those who are still looking for a tan, here are some ways Green suggests to do it as safely as possible:
• Avoid sunbeds. Sunbeds emit concentrated UV radiation, which is often somewhere between four and five and a maximum of 10 to 12 times what someone would get if they were outside.
• Remember to tan naked because parts of the body that are normally always covered are more susceptible to burns.
• People have different sensitivities to the sun, so keep your previous experiences with sun exposure in mind. For example, you may need to apply sunscreen more often than your friend.
• The use of vegetable oil to increase a person's color is not safe.
• The safest way to turn brown is the use of sun creams.