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Sun safety: quick tips

Use a sunscreen.
Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF, or sun protection factor, of at least 30.

Use it everywhere.
Particularly on the head in frequently missed spots like the tips of ears, nose, and on the lips themselves. These are areas that sustain significant sun damage over the years and where sun-induced skin cancer typically appear as a result.

Apply ahead of time.
Remember to apply sunscreen 15 minutes before you go outside to allow time for the ingredients to penetrate the skin.

Keep protected.
Reapply sunscreen frequently and liberally, following the manufacturer's instructions.

Don't forget sunglasses.
Protect your eyes with wrap-around sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection. Overexposure to sunlight can cause both short-term and long-term damage to your eyes, including increasing your risk of getting cataracts.

Wear a hat.
Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your head, neck, and ears. These regions are most susceptible to sun damage. A hat with a brim at least 3 inches wide will provide the best protection.

Wear protective clothing.
Clothing is generally better at protecting you from the sun than sunscreen. Tightly woven clothing offer better sun protection. If you’re going to be in the sun a lot, look for clothing with UPF (ultraviolet-protection factor) labels, which tells you how much sun protection it offers for both UVA and UVB.

Seek the shade and avoid the noonday sun.
Try to stay out of the sun between 11 am and 3 pm, and when the UV index is higher than 3. This is when the sun's ultraviolet B radiation is strongest. It is safer to be outside in the early morning or late afternoon.

Think ahead.
Do not rely on your skin to tell you when to get out of the sun. If you are burnt, your skin has already been severely sun damaged.

Use sunscreen all year.
Protect your skin from spring to early fall, and exposed skin areas in the winter. Remember that reflected light from snow, sand, and cement can cause skin damage.

Don't forget sun aftercare.
Moisturize your skin after sun exposure to replenish lost moisture.

Ask a health professional.
If you are taking medication check with your physician or pharmacist before seeking the sun. Some medications can make your skin more sensitive.

Watch for the signs of skin cancer.
These include moles or birthmarks that change colour, size, or texture, skin growths that increase in size, spots that continue to itch, crust, hurt, scab, or erode, or any open sore or wound that does not heal in 4 weeks or one that heals and reopens - see your doctor immediately if you have any of these signs.