Love the sunscreen slather

Love the sunscreen slather

Last week was Sun Awareness week and I saw this video Dear 16 year old me. I think the next time I don’t want to slather gooey, messy sunscreen all over my very fair skin, I will. The scariest statistic mentioned was: Just one bad sunburn before you turn 18 can double your chances of getting melanoma.

Don’t freak out! Two out of the three skin cancers, basal cell and squamous cell, are superficial and easily (though painfully) removed by surgery. The serious one, melanoma, is less common and more than 90 per cent curable if caught early. If not caught, however, it spreads deeper into the skin and to other parts of the body, often causing death.

For women, melanoma is often found on the legs. The best way to catch it early is to self-examine your skin once a month. Carefully check all your current and any new freckle-like spots and look for the ABCDEs of Melanoma:

A. Asymmetry – one side is not like the other.

B. Border – the edge is irregular, ragged and imprecise.

C. Colour – you find a mix of, or change in the colour of a spot including black, brown, blue, red and/or white.

D. Diameter – the spot grows to larger than 6 mm, though melanoma can be present in smaller spots.

E. Evolution – check for changes in the pigmented spot, such as in colour, size, shape or symptoms such as itching, tenderness or bleeding.

It’s time to really get to know your skin as well as help your children develop good, solid sun safety habits (even on cloudy days) to greatly reduce their chances of getting skin cancer. If they don’t develop those habits early, it’s less likely they will protect themselves in future, especially during those teen years when their friends know better and being tan is cool.

You only need a few minutes of sun a few times a week to help your skin produce Vitamin D. The rest of the time, and whenever the UV index is 3 or greater, stay in the shade as much as possible between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Find more information on the Canadian Dermatology Association’s website:

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