Protect Your Skin: What You Need to Know This Summer

Protect Your Skin: What You Need to Know This Summer

As the mercury rises and the sun shines for longer, it’s inevitable that the urge to go outside and make the most of the summer will be irresistible. However, it is essential to prioritize taking care of your skin. May is not only Sun Awareness Month, a time to educate ourselves on effective behaviours to minimize the consequences of sun exposure, but also Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month, a time to educate ourselves on the fastest rising cancer affecting people in Canada.

Sun Awareness Month

A key goal of the Sun Awareness Campaign is to encourage Canadians to learn about and implement certain lifestyle changes to protect against the preventable risks of the consequences of unprotected sun exposure, namely sunburn, melanoma, and skin cancer.

One element that one should become more acquainted with is the UV Index. The scale is a measure of the intensity of the ultraviolet (UV) rays. It goes from 0-11 and is classified into five ranges of risk: low (0-2), moderate (3-5), high (6-7), very high (8-10), and extreme (11+). This forecast is widely available between April and September and should be a guide on how to approach the appropriate level of sun protection.

When low level, sunscreen and sunglasses are sufficient for normal activity. As we enter a moderate or high level, precautions are necessary if spending extended time outside, namely wearing a hat, covering up as much as possible, and seeking shade between 11 am and 3 pm when the sun is brightest. At high and extreme levels, unprotected skin is at high risk of burning and the sun should be avoided as much as possible.

Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Not only in Canada but also around the world, melanoma is one the of cancers with highest rising rates that affects people of all ages. The particular danger of this type of skin cancer lies in its ability to spread quickly elsewhere in the body if not detected early. Fortunately, melanoma is both clearly visible on the skin and highly survivable when detected early. The leading cause of melanoma is over-exposure to UV rays. As such, it is important to follow the prior sun awareness guidelines to take care of our skin. Moreover, it is important to check your skin often for uncharacteristic marks on your skin.

Skin Care for the Elderly 

While skin cancer is a growing risk for people of all ages, those aged 60 and older face a higher risk of developing it. Moreover, sun protection habits have changed and developed over time, so certain gaps in routines could be potential risks. Also, certain medications may render skin more susceptible to sunburn through increased sensitivity. Fortunately, it is never too late to implement these approaches to take care of your skin. A broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 should be a regular purchase this summer.

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