Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sun Safety

Everyone knows smoking is bad for your health. But I still see way too many people sticking their (uncovered) head in the sand when it comes to sun safety.

Personally, I have never understood the appeal of a tan (it doesn't look attractive to me) nor do I understand the appeal of sitting in the sun (or a tanning bed). But that's probably because I despise being hot. I am happy to embrace my paleness. You should too.

Now that the warm weather is FINALLY here, I thought this post was appropriate. Let me set you straight on a few myths about sun safety:

1. It is better to avoid sunscreens because we need to get vitamin D from the sun.

Nope. No one should rely on sun exposure alone for vitamin D. Take a vitamin D supplement. They are safe and effective.

2. Getting a tan is the safest way to prevent getting a burn when exposed to the sun for a prolonged period of time.

Sorry. The safest way to avoid getting a burn is to wear sunscreen and protective clothing and avoid being in the direct sun as much as possible.

3. Tanning beds are safer than tanning outside.

Nope. Sorry again folks. Tanning beds have health risks too.

4. Using one application of sunscreen with an SPF 15 provides protection for the whole day.

No, no, no! Stick with an SPF of at least 30 and reapply frequently.

If you absolutely have to make yourself look like a roasted chicken, for goodness sakes get a good quality fake tanner from the drug store and put it on UNDER YOUR SUNSCREEN.

Here are a few more sun safety tips from Health Canada:

UV rays can cause:
skin cancer
eye damage
premature skin aging
Safety Tips
Plan to be outside in the early morning or late afternoon.

Stay in the shade and out of the hot sun between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

If you are in the sun between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., wear long pants, long sleeves and a hat with a wide brim to protect your skin from sunburn.

Wear sunglasses that provide UVA and UVB protection.

Use a sunscreen lotion or cream that is SPF 15 or more. SPF means Sun Protection Factor.

Use a sunscreen that says "broad-spectrum" on the label. It will screen out most of the UVA and UVB rays.

Put sunscreen on your skin 20 minutes before you go out and reapply 20 minutes after being out in the sun to ensure even application of the product and better protection.

Don't forget your lips, ears and nose. These parts of your body burn easily.

Sunscreen gets washed off by water and sweat. So, put more sunscreen on after you go swimming or if you are sweating.

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