Summer weather is finally here and you are ready for hours of fun in the sun! Whether you plan to practice your favourite summer sport or simply lounge around in the sun, you are ready! After the long winter, your pale and pasty limbs are in dire need of a good dose of sunshine. But no worries, you always slather sunscreen lotion on, right? Well that is terrific! By using sunscreen, you are helping to prevent your skin from aging prematurely and lowering your risk of suffering from skin cancer. But because sunscreen is the least efficient form of sun protection, you must remember that it should be your last line of defence.
In fact, the very best prevention is directly protecting our skin from harmful sun rays. Because the sun is at its strongest and most harmful between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm, it is recommended we stay in the shade during those hours and wear long clothes, a hat and sunglasses.
Yet, wearing long clothes is not all, the fabrics your garments are made of is also really important. Warm summer temperatures call for clothes made of light fabrics like cotton and linen. But unfortunately, these fabrics offer very little protection against the sun. Sadly, it is dark, thick and tightly-weaved fabrics like denim, wool or polyester that offer the best sun protection. Wet, stretched and bleached fabrics also lose their power to protect against UV rays.
Evidently, it is not suggested swimmers wear dark woolly clothes, but rather we must remember that a little white t-shirt will not sufficiently protect our skin against potential sun damage.
Lastly, if we want to get the optimal protection sunscreens can offer, we must apply them correctly. We should choose a sunscreen with at least SPF15, and apply it liberally 15 to 30 minutes before going out in the sun. Sunscreen must be reapplied every two hours and even more often when we are sweating a lot or playing water sports. The Canadian Cancer Society also recommends wearing dark sunglasses that offer UVA & UVB protection to shelter our eyes from these harmful rays.
If you protect your skin properly, you can play outside all summer long! Preventing the sun from harming your skin will save you from having to deal with a potentially disastrous outcome. Make sure you are sun-smart and have a great summer!