Healthy lifestyles Sun safety

Sun safety

Spending time outdoors whether for work or play, can be a great way to spend the summer. Before you go outside, be aware of the risks associated with prolonged exposure to the sun and its harmful rays. Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays increases the risk for skin cancer. Too much exposure to UV rays increases the risk of sunburn, skin cancers and cataracts and can weaken the immune system.

More about sun safety


Steps to safe sun practices

Enjoy the sun safely

Shade: when your shadow is shorter than you, the sun is very strong. Especially between 11am-3pm. Take an umbrella to the beach and always keep children, especially babies, in the shade.

Clothing: cover as much as possible with tightly woven loose fitting clothes that are light and made of a breathable fabric.
Wear a comfortable wide brimmed hat that covers the neck and ears.

Sunglasses: the eye is at greater risk of damage from UV rays than other kinds of light. Look for sunglasses that have broad spectrum protection (UVA and UVB). Price, colour or darkness of the lenses does not indicate how much UV protection is provided. Read the label before buying.

Sunscreen: Always use sunscreen with a SPF 30 or more. SPF represents the length of time that sunscreen-protected skin can be exposed to the sun before burning. Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection. Always check the expiry date and apply 20 minutes before going out. Reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or sweating. Don't forget your lips, ears, neck and tops of your feet! Use a lip balm with SPF 30 or higher.

DO NOT apply sunscreen on babies less than 6 months old.
If you want to use bug repellent, apply the sunscreen first, wait 20 minutes, then apply bug repellent.

Tanning beds

There is growing evidence that the ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitted by lamps used in solariums and sun tanning salons may damage the skin and increase the risk of developing skin cancer.

As of May 1, 2014, according to Ontario law, youth under 18 will no longer be allowed to use tanning beds in Ontario. The legislation protects young people, who are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of UV radiation, from skin cancer.

More information on tanning beds

Ontario legislation

WHO Health effects of UV exposure

WHO information on tanning beds

Did you know?

A major proportion of sun exposure and sun damage, occurs in children before the age of 18?

Teach children sun safety at an early age by teaching them the shadow test for sun safety. If your shadow is shorter than you, use maximum sun protection.