We all love to boast a healthy bronzed glow but with summer just around the corner, you might want to think twice about how you go about getting it. With skin cancer on the rise, along with environmental changes that are drastically effecting our protective ozone layer, it’s more important than ever to make sure that you get your coveted tan in the healthiest way possible.
That’s why the Canadian Dermatology Association (CDA) holds an annual National Sun Awareness Week. This year it starts on Monday, June 1 with various events and activities running throughout the country until Sunday, June 9. This includes free skin screenings from the CDA to make sure your derm is good and healthy.
The Canadian government has recently proposed new regulations for stricter enforcement on sunscreen warnings. These changes include stronger warning labels on sunscreens that contain anti-aging ingredients like retinol and vitamin A, and to ban sunscreens with SPFs higher than 50, or those that claim effectiveness for use on wet skin.
The proposed changes have not yet been implemented but they aim to create greater awareness for consumers to find the best sun protection available. In the meantime, we suggest you follow these rules to protect yourself from the dangers of sun exposure.
Choose a sunscreen between 30-50 SPF
Any less than 30 won’t give you the protection you need, while anything 50+ is unnecessary since it hasn’t actually been proven to have increased effectiveness. Also, make sure to note the time limit on the label that indicates how long the sunscreen will work for.
Ombrelle Complete Extreme Lotion SPF 30, $27.99
Only use broad spectrum sunscreen
Broad spectrum protects from both UVA and UVB rays, which are big contributors to increasing your risk of skin cancer.
Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Sunscreen Lotion SPF 45, $13.03
Apply liberally and often
Don’t skimp out on the ‘screen because sunburns are super bad for you (and the lobster look is really not cute). Apply sunscreen generously all over your bod about 30 minutes before going out and reapply every couple of hours (more often if you’re sweating or swimming). Make sure to get your ears, lips, neck, and face.
Neutrogena Clear Face Lotion SPF 30, $14.01
Avoid spray sunscreens
There is potential that inhaling the fumes from spray-screens is harmful to your lungs, so play it safe and stick to lotions. Also, rub-ons give you more control to make sure you don’t miss an inch.
Skip the tanning salon
Skip the tanning salon. While the speed and efficiency of indoor tanning is tempting, the fact is that it’s just not worth the risk. After those pictures went viral of the scary scars that poor woman suffered from frequenting tanning salons, we would much rather be patient and build up a tan in a healthier way “ naturally, or with a great self-tanning product. Click here to check out our favourite self tanners!
Limit sun exposure
Patience is certainly a virtue when it comes to getting a great tan. Don’t try to maximize your colour by sitting outside for hours on end, day after day. Let your tan build naturally over the next few weeks while you’re walking around the city with your friends or enjoying a meal on a patio. Try to take breaks in the shade often, especially when the sun is directly overhead.
If you are really adamant on getting your tan on, lay out for only an hour or two at a time. It’s also best to be out in the early morning or late afternoon/evening “ between 10 am and 4 pm is peak ray intensity, meaning peak cancer risks. Also, NEVER skip the sunscreen. Just because you use sunscreen doesn’t mean you won’t tan “ you just won’t burn! On that note, DO skip the oil. Sure, it makes your skin super soft and hydrated, but it too will drastically increase your chances of burning, even if you put it on over top of sunscreen. Use after-sun moisturizer instead to get silky smoothness.
Watch out for water
There’s a reason why the government wants to ban labels claiming water-resistance. Just because a sunscreen is water-resistant doesn’t mean that it’s waterproof, which is an important difference that leads many of us to believe that we are still protected after a quick dip to cool off. Always reapply after going in the water, even if it’s only been half an hour since you first applied. Better safe than sorry!
Dress to protect
If you’re going to be outside all day long, you might want to think about wearing a hat and clothing that offers more coverage. While it’s tempting to wear as little as possible when it’s a real scorcher out there, lightweight clothing that provides sun protection can actually be more cooling than you realize. Aim for fabrics like linen and cotton “ the more tightly woven the better! Some clothing even has Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) ratings on the label “ the higher the rating, the better the protection. And still, never skip the sunscreen.
At the end of the long sunny summer day, we simply can no longer afford to not wear sunscreen. Protect yourself and your future by being smart about the sun and your skin.