Winter Sun Awareness

WINTER SUN SAFETY

SUNBURNS and short periods of intense UV EXPOSURE (e.g., during winter vacation in SUN DESTINATIONS) are linked to SKIN CANCER. Be aware of the health risks of UV radiation. The number one preventable risk factor for the most common form of melanoma is overexposure to damaging UVR. Overexposure to the sun and other sources of ultraviolet radiation are known to cause harm to the skin, eyes and immune system. About 65% of melanomas worldwide can be attributed to UVR exposure.

DID YOU KNOW?

• Fresh white snow reflects up to 88% of the sun’s UV rays, almost doubling a person’s UV
exposure.
UV rays are stronger at higher altitudes (e.g., when mountain skiing or snowboarding).
• Travelling this winter? Getting a “base tan” before vacation would only provide a sun
protection factor of about 3 or less. This is not enough to protect you from sun damage.

A 2012 survey shows that two-thirds of Canadians do not wear sunscreen in the winter.

Do you wear sunscreen during the winter months (December-March)

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WINTER TIPS FOR COLD AND SNOW:

  • Eye Protection: Wear close fitting/wraparound sunglasses or goggles with UV 400 or 100% UV protection. Protecting your eyes is important any time of day, all year round.
  • Shade: Seek shade or make shade by using an umbrella, a UV protective tent or pop-up shelter.
  • Cover Up: Wear a hat. It will keep you warm and protect your head. Consider wearing a mask (e.g., balaclava) to protect your face from the sun and wind.
  • Sunscreen: Apply plenty of sunscreen with SPF 30 or more, labelled ‘broad spectrum’ and ‘water resistant’ on skin not covered by clothes (e.g., face). Use a sunscreen lip balm.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR SUN DESTINATIONS:

  • Check the Local UV Report: If you can, limit time in the sun when the UV Index is 3 or higher. But if you are outside, use sun protection.
  • Shade: Seek shade or make shade by using an umbrella, a UV protective tent or pop-up shelter.
  • Cover Up: Wear comfortable clothes that cover as much skin as possible (even when swimming) or UVprotective clothing. Wear a wide brimmed hat that covers the head, neck, and ears.
  • Sunscreen: Apply plenty of sunscreen with SPF 30 or more, labelled ‘broad spectrum’ and ‘water resistant.’ Reapply when needed (especially after swimming, sweating, or towelling). Use a sunscreen lip balm.
  • Sunglasses: Wear close fitting/wraparound sunglasses with UV 400 or 100% UV protection

Watch Our Winter Sun Awareness Video with Olympic Skier Julia Murray
Raising awareness for melanoma is a cause that is very close to Julia Murray’s heart. Julia Murray is a Canadian Olympic Ski Cross Athlete who lost her father, Dave Murray – a two-time Olympian and member of the infamous Crazy Canucks – to melanoma in 1990 when she was just two years old. He was the young age of 37 when he died. She is committed to helping educate Canadians about the risks of winter sun exposure, the importance of winter sun safety and to increase awareness of melanoma.

Learn How to prevent and detect melanoma 

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