There’s Biff, trying to make
an impression on Annette.
Sadly, the biggest impression he is
making is on himself.
He’s getting a sunburn and
he doesn’t even know it.
Even in Canada, eh!
What are Ultraviolet (UV) Rays?
What is Melanoma?
How do you prevent melanoma?
We're so glad you asked...
In fact, it’s the whole reason for this website!
- Seek shade
- Cover up
- Wear sunglasses
- Wear sunscreen
Pretty simple, right?
Hey! Here’s today’s forecast:
Wait! What’s that about UV?
UV level is a measurement of how intensely the sun's ultraviolet rays (UV) can burn your skin. The higher the UV, the greater the chances of a burn or severe burn.
And the greater the risk to your skin and eyes.
When UV is expected to be 3+ an alert is sent out to Canadians on radio, TV and the internet.
Listen for it and protect yourself when UV is 3 or higher!
When? How? What?
When the UV is 3 or higher and you will be outside more than 10 minutes.
About 15 minutes before you go outside.
Before AND after you spend time in the water.
If you are outside for more than 2 hours, REAPPLY IT.
If you forget – apply it when you remember! Too much is better than not enough!
How Should You Apply Sunscreen?
Use a generous amount.
Cover all those sneaky little spots – like your ears and the back of your neck.
What Kind of Sunscreen Should You Use?
Broad spectrum SPF 30+.
Water resistant – if you’ll be in the water. Duh, right?
Hey – come on… just one sun tan. So what if you burn. Just once right?
Oh hi there! I’m the beginnings of a melanoma and you just stopped me from growing. Thanks a lot! I had dreams of growing and killing Biff, but now you have taken that away. Wahhhh!
But you need to catch it early.
You can often see it on your skin.
Here are the signs of melanoma:
Shades of black, brown, and tan may be present. Ares of white gray, red, or blue may also be seen.
Mole changes in size, shape, colour, appearance, growing in previously normal skin. Mole begins to bleed or itch.
So what if I get a sunburn? Cancer only happens when you get older, right?
Melanoma is one of the most common types of cancers for people between the ages of 15 and 29.
Think Red Heads Are The Only People At Risk?
Nope! Every skin tone is at risk.
People with lighter skin tone, who freckle and/or burn easily, have higher risk. Having a darker skin tone does offer some small amount of sun protection, but does not mean you are free from radiation damage from the sun or from burning and scarring. Look at the different skin tones below. Which one are you?
Very fair skin
Always burns - does not tan
Burns easily - tans poorly
Tans and sometimes burns
Light brown skin
Rarely burns - tans easily
Dark brown or very dark skin
Never seems to burn - tans darkly
There are other factors that increase risk of melanoma, such as: family history of melanoma or skin cancer, freckles easy, burns easy, taking certain forms of drugs that create more sensitivity, more than 50 moles.
No Tan Is a Healthy Tan!
Think Tanning Makes You Look Younger?
Not really and not for long.
Did you know that old age is NOT the cause of wrinkles?
Tanning causes wrinkles.
OK, old age can give you some wrinkles.
But skin damage from sun exposure and tanning is the primary cause of wrinkles and sagging skin. So unless you want to look like and old leather sofa when you are 40 (trust us, you don’t) – take care of your skin!
Here's an image of the damage sun does to your skin.
Don't get fooled!
Even when you feel cool, UV radiation is still present.
Cool doesn’t mean protected skin! And on the water the UV’s reflection makes it even stronger. This happens on the sand too.
Have you ever heard of a windburn? There’s no such thing!
It’s actually UV radiation that has affected you when there is a breeze.
Do you enjoy being in the water? Remember:
- Cover up
- Apply sunscreen
- Wear sunglasses and a hat when possible
Tips on Covering up
- Wear clothing that covers as much of your body as possible.
- Hats should shade your face, ears and back of your neck.
- Didn’t bring a broad brimmed hat? Put on a baseball hat – it’s better than no hat at all! Just make sure you put sunscreen on any exposed skin.
- Lightweight, loose-fitting UV protective clothing can keep you cooler than bare skin in hot weather.
- Cover ups that provide the best protection are synthetic fabrics or polyester blends, and clothing with a high ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) number (check the label).
The beach. The sun. The swimsuit. The ahhh…. It’s summer.
Want to show off that snazzy swimsuit?
Okay, just make sure you get that sunscreen on.
Here are some sun protection reminders.
- Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before you go outside.
- Make sure your sunscreen is SPF 30 or higher.
- Reapply your sunscreen approximately every two hours.
- Use broad-spectrum water resistant sunscreen.
- Reapply your sunscreen after you go into the water.
- Wear UV protective sunglasses that wrap around your head.
What a Difference…a Season Makes!
In Canada from March to October UV often reaches 3 or higher between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
From May to August the UV often reaches 5+ between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Can the Sun Damage Your Eyes?
Ultraviolet rays from the sun can harm your eyes.
The lens and cornea can also be damaged by repeated exposure to the sun.
Damage to these parts of your eyes can cause blindness or early cataracts if untreated.
If it’s cloudy outside, I don’t need sunscreen and sunglasses.
Just because it's cloudy does not mean there is no risk of UV.
Heavy overcast conditions greatly reduce UV.
Hazy days do not significantly reduce UV.
Scattered clouds mean an increase in UV.
So what should you do?
Check the forecast to find out what the UV is.
If you’re not sure: Cover up. Apply sunscreen. Wear a hat and sunglasses.
Don’t I Need to Spend Time in the Sun to Get Vitamin D?
Made for the Shade
Here’s what you should know about shade and sun protection:
- Seek shade as a first line of defence from UV when you are outside between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
- The best shade is trees with dense leave coverage, a canopy or an umbrella.
- Oh yeah, if you’re under a tree or umbrella by water (a swimming pool or on the lake) don’t be fooled! The sun’s rays off the water can still harm you. Cover up and wear sunscreen!
Melanoma is Highly Treatable – But You Need to Catch It Early.
- Examine the front and back of your body in a mirror. Then look at your right and left sides, arms raised.
- Bend your elbows, and look carefully at your forearms, back of upper arms and palms.
- Check your fingers and under fingernails.
- Look at the backs of your legs and feet, spaces between toes, toenails and soles.
- Examine the back of your neck and scalp with a hand mirror. Part your hair and lift to carefully check.
- Finally, check your abdomen, back and butt with a hand mirror.
Knowing the Risks
There are certain things that can create greater risk of skin cancers and melanoma. Click on each of these risk to see how the impact on risk level.
Four things you can do to help prevent melanoma:
- Seek shade
- Cover up
- Wear sunglasses
- Wear sunscreen