Aside from being detrimental to your skin, the sun’s harmful rays can leave you exposed to developing skin cancer.
Most people understand that sunburns are bad for the skin, especially the deep, blistering type. Most sun damage to the skin is cumulative, caused by many days of sun exposure, thus making it essential to take the necessary precautions while outside in the sun and to monitor your skin regularly throughout the year. The Canadian Dermatology Association (CDA) is committed to informing Canadians about the harmful effects the sun can have on their skin and providing preventative methods and essential steps to perform a skin cancer self-examination.
Sun safety prevention methods
Apply sunscreen that is broad-spectrum with an SPF of 30 or higher
Wear protective clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt and pants
Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face, neck, and ears
Wear UV-protective sunglasses that offer “UV400” or “100% UV protection”
Seek shade when the sun’s ultraviolet radiation is the strongest between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
ABCDEs of melanoma: what to look for
Asymmetry: The shape on one side is different from that on the other side
Border: The border or visible edge is irregular, ragged, and imprecise
Colour: There is a colour variation, with brown, black, red, grey, or white within the lesion
Diameter: Growth is typical of melanoma. It can measure more than six mm, although it can be less
Evolution: Look for changes in colour, size, shape or symptoms, such as itching, tenderness, or bleeding
If you believe you’ve spotted signs of skin cancer, schedule an appointment with your health care provider, who can then refer you to a dermatologist.
For more information about the CDA’s National Sun Awareness Month campaign and sun safety resources, visit dermatology.ca or checkyourskin.ca.