The sun is shining, the weather is warming up fast, and it’s time to head out and enjoy everything the great Canadian summer has to offer, from long lazy days by the lakes to hikes in the hills.
It’s also the time when our skin is at its most vulnerable to the harmful effect of the UV rays in sunlight. Amidst all the excitement and enjoyment, we need to think about what to do to protect our skin, and prevent skin cancer.
UV index and sunburn
The UV index is a measure of the strength of the ultraviolet rays which cause skin to burn. The UV index is related to weather conditions, and is shown on TV weather maps when the forecast Index is 3 or higher.
The UV index scores are:
Low =2 or less
Moderate=3 to 5
High= 6 to 7
Very high = 8 to 10
Extreme = 11 or higher
Sun protection is required at UV levels between 3 and 7. UV levels of 8 and above require extra protection, and higher than 10 is tropical strength sun. UVB rays are at their highest between 11am and 3pm.
UV radiation on cloudy days
It’s important to note that the UV index will be higher than stated in forecasts during sunny breaks on a cloudy day, or if weather conditions improve during the day. Also, up to 80% of the sun’s rays can penetrate through weather conditions such as light cloud, mist, and even fog!
UV radiation and skin damage
If you have even a slight tan, your skin has been already been damaged by UV rays. The skin responds to the higher intensity of UV by darkening, to protect itself. Overexposure to UV rays can also prematurely age your skin, causing:
Harder ‘leathery’ skin
Loss of elasticity
Dark patches, often called age spots or liver spots
Precancerous changes to your skin
Help at AMG London
At AMG London, we offer a complete service for a variety of skin conditions and treatments.
Consult the AMG London dermatology clinic for the treatment of skin problems and skin cancer testing
The Rejuv Medi-Spa offers advanced skincare and treatments to reduce the visible signs of skin aging
Our on-site Rexell pharmacy stock a range of sunscreens for all the family – do come in and ask them for advice!
UV protection for your eyes
Sunglasses with proper UVA and UVB protection prevent direct and reflected sunlight light from damaging your eyes. Close-fitting, wrap-around styles are the best. Make sure you wear them all summer, especially near reflective surfaces such as concrete, white sand and water. Overexposure to the sun can cause the lenses in your eyes to prematurely age, including clouding of the lenses and macular degeneration.
Why continual protection is important
Skin damage is cumulative, which means that all those days spent in the sun can add up. The UV exposure affects the DNA in you skin cells, which either die or repair themselves where possible. Cells damaged beyond repair can lead to skin cancer.
What to do to protect your skin
Seek out shade wherever possible
Wear light clothing that covers your skin as much as possible
Wear a wide brimmed-hat rather than a baseball cap, for added protection for your face and neck
Choose a sunscreen product that has a SPF of at least 30, and is effective against both UVA and UVB rays.
Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply sunscreen often during the day, especially on hot, humid days.
Drink water to keep yourself hydrated
Children and sunburn
Children’s skin is particularly vulnerable to sunburn. A child’s skin can burn in as little as 15 minutes if left unprotected in higher UV levels. Babies are even more vulnerable as they cannot move out of unexpected hot sun into the shade, like a toddler or older child can. If you find it difficult to get your kids to apply sunblock, there’s some great tips in this article.