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Natural Sun Safety

Posted by Brandy Pridham on

It’s hot and the sun is shining! Our Canadian summers are precious and like most of us you’re probably outside with your family enjoying the beautiful weather before the seasons change. We love spending time outside and with so much sunshine in the forecast, it’s important to practice sun safety.

Since the 1970’s, skin cancer rates have increased dramatically, melanoma rates have tripled over the past three decades. There is no debate that the risks are real and that we need to actively prevent sun exposure to help minimize the risks of sun damage. There are small changes we can make that will help minimize exposure, prevent sun damage and help protect you and your family.

Plan your day! Minimize your UV exposure by planning your day around the sun’s more harmful rays. Plan your outdoor activity with sun safety in mind. Take your family for a hike in the early morning. Go to the park in the late afternoon for a tea party picnic. A perfect schedule for planning an afternoon siesta!

Stay covered! Seek shade and invest in a portable sun umbrella for your family’s trips to the beach or your daughter’s baseball tournament. Wearing long, loose fitting clothing can help prevent sun damage. A wide brimmed hat is best for protecting your head, face and neck and sunglasses are important to help protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. The Environmental Working Group says simply by covering up and protecting your skin from the sun’s UV rays you can reduce your risk of sun damage by 27%. And when it comes to the sun, every little bit helps!

Wear sunscreen! Using sunscreen is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure adequate protection, but trying to determine which sunscreen to use can be confusing. Here are a few qualities to keep in mind:

  • Consider mineral based sunscreens using zinc oxide and titanium dioxide -- both are stable in sunlight and offer a good balance of protection from the two types of ultraviolet radiation (UVA and UVB).
  • Consider sunscreen that don’t contain potentially harmful additives like oxybenzone, a hormone disruptor, or retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A that may harm skin when it interacts with the sun.
  • Consider the SPF number and that higher isn’t always better. High SPF numbers may be misleading in that they don’t necessarily offer greater protection above SPF 50 and may lead you to spend more time in the sun than your SPF protection actually affords you.
  • Consider broad-spectrum protection that will protect against sunburn from the sun’s UVB rays, but will also filter UVA rays that are now considered harmful as well.

A good resource for information regarding sunscreen is the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) annual Sunscreen Guide. First published in 2007, EWG’s consumer guide on sunscreen has helped inform consumers about the use of sunscreen and what to look for in a good one. Check it out!

I hope you enjoy the sunshine and practice sun safety!


Be happy, be well, BHealthy

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