There are few things more glorious than a sun-soaked vacation. We Vancouverites spend a good 9 months of the year in less than tropical weather conditions, so we understand the desire to get out in the sun as much as humanly possible when on vacation.
Let’s be honest, Vancouverites can get a little pasty looking over the winter months, and getting out in the sunshine is an opportunity to achieve a healthy glow. And that “just got back from Hawaii” look shows really well on Instagram! #nofilter!
There are, indeed, lots of positive effects to that ball of fire in the sky. For one, it’s warm! But it also synthesises vitamin D3 in the body, and enhances our mood and kills pathogens. So, yay for the sun!
“Leathery” Only Looks Good on Handbags
So, yes, while being out in the sun can be a healthy and uplifting experience, it’s also paramount that you take the necessary precautions and protect yourself from the dangers of too much exposure! Overdoing your time in the sun can leave you looking like “Tan-Mom”–not someone you want to be likened to!
Crispy, leathery and wrinkled are not good adjectives to describe your complexion! No one wants to look like a lobster. So to avoid the “George Hamilton” look, and, more importantly, the health risks associated with the this perennially tanned look, we offer the following sun-safety tips!
Terrific Sun-Safety Tips
Despite the advantages to sun exposure, overexposure to UV radiation can also have adverse health effects, including sunburn, premature ageing, skin cancers, eye-diseases, and immune suppression.
The following tips will help you enjoy the sun, without the drawbacks negatively impacting your health!
Limit Your Time in the Sun
The most effective way you can avoid the dangers of sun exposure is to limit your time in the sun. The Government of Canada website recommends “keeping out of the sun and heat between 11am and 4pm.
When your shadow is shorter than you, the sun is very strong. Look for places with lots of shade, like a park with big trees, partial roofs, awnings, umbrellas or gazebo tents. Always take an umbrella to the beach.”
Sunscreen! Sunscreen! Sunscreen!
We can’t repeat this mantra enough. Your mother was right when she told you never to leave the house without sunscreen! However, it’s important to know which sunscreens are the best and how to use them properly. The following information from the Canadian Health section of the government website is very useful:
- Choose a high SPF. Protect your health by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15. The sunscreen should also say “broad-spectrum” on the label, to screen out most of the UVA and UVB rays.
- Look for “water resistant”. Look for claims on the label that the product stays on better in water (water resistant, very water resistant).
- Read application instructions. For best results, be sure to follow the instructions on the product label.
- Use lots of sunscreen. Use the recommended amount of sunscreen.
- Apply it early. Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you go outside; reapply 20 minutes after going outside and at least every 2 hours after that. Use a generous amount. Cover exposed areas generously, including ears, nose, the tops of feet and backs of knees.
- Reapply often. Reapply sunscreen often to get the best possible protection especially if you are swimming or sweating heavily.
- Protect yourself. Sunscreen and insect repellents can be used safely together. Apply the sunscreen first, then the insect repellent.
- Sunscreens and babies. Do not put sunscreen on babies less than 6 months of age. Keep them out of the sun and heat as their skin and bodies are much more sensitive than an adult’s.
- Test for an allergic reaction. Before using any tanning product on you or your child check for an allergic reaction, especially if you have sensitive skin. Apply it to a small patch of skin on the inner forearm for several days in a row. If the skin turns red or otherwise reacts, change products.
Sunglasses Aren’t Just for Looking Cool!
Wear sunglasses. If you choose them properly, sunglasses will protect your eyes against damage from ultraviolet (UV) radiation and visible light. You can look like a rock star and protect your eyes at the same time!
It’s a Cover Up!
When you’re not frolicking in the water, it’s best to wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat made from breathable fabric.