How To Enjoy The Sun Safely

As a skin cancer survivor I get the opportunity to spread awareness and share my story on a regular basis. In doing so, I’ve found that people can jump to conclusions when you start talking sun safety. So I’d like to clear up a few things.

Although I am a sun safety advocate I am not a vampire. I do not only come out at night. I do not lurk in the shadows. I still enjoy balmy summer days just as much as the next and do my best to protect my skin at the same time. Forgive me for I am about to swear, but sometimes I even get a TAN. Yeah, I just went there.

It’s impossible to avoid the sun, but we can avoid the burn and by doing so avoid premature aging and Melanoma, which, although deadly, is one of the most preventable diseases.

Did you know:

  • More than 90 percent of all skin cancers are associated with sun exposure?
  • One severe burn during childhood can double your chances of Melanoma?
  • A tan is actually your body’s defense against skin cancer?

So there’s no denying that protecting yourself in one way or another is important.

For the most part, you probably know the drill. Seek shade or make it, especially from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun is at it’s strongest. Cover up what you can, the Canadian Cancer Society suggests channeling your inner diva with big sunglasses (the darker the lens the better) and even bigger sun hats.

It’s recommended that you apply an ounce of sunscreen thirty minutes before going out in the sun, and continue to reapply every two hours. I decided that if I’m going to be slathering it on all the time I should choose one without the questionable chemicals. If you also want to go the natural route, I find this website extremely helpful for navigating those
sneaky labels. For the record, you don’t need to splurge on SPF one billion, anything above thirty doesn’t actually make a difference. I’m not just making this up, you can read about it here.

But how does one get Vitamin D you ask? You don’t need a tan to benefit from the sun. A few minutes a day (some people say ten, some say fifteen, I’ll let you be the judge) of unprotected sun exposure is usually all that is needed to get enough Vitamin D.

So if you want a glow and not the in the dark kind, self tanners and spray tans have come a long way. The streaky, smelly mess you might associate with the faker formula is a thing of the past. Erase the image of prom queen carrots from your mind and think caramel. Instead of David Hasselhoff think JLO. You get the picture.

Now stop reading this and get outside!

Wait, one last thing before you go, remember that even if you are diligent about sun safety you should check your skin regularly and visit a dermatologist.

Resources: Canadian Cancer Society | Health Canada | Canadian Dermatology Association