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Since 1989 the Canadian Dermatology Association has celebrated a nationwide Sun Awareness Week. This year Sun Awareness Week falls during the week of June 4th to the 11th. The purpose is to educate the public on the dangers of too much sun. Because of the rising incidence of skin cancer, the Canadian Dermatology Association now has activities that run throughout the year.

The National Sun Awareness Program begins in the spring and focuses on different age groups and activities. Volunteers help with skin cancer screenings and teach good sun safety practices.

What are the dangers of too much sun exposure?

  • Short term risks include sunburn and if it’s severe enough it can lead to first degree burns.
  • Long terms risks include skin cancer which in some cases can be fatal.

Other results from spending too much time in the sun include premature aging and loss of the elasticity of your skin. The sun can also cause skin dryness, itchiness and rashes as well as damage to your eyes. Those who work outdoors are most at risk of developing skin cancer or eye problems later in life.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Use sunscreen. A sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 will block 93% of the sun’s rays.
  • Limit your exposure to the sun to early in the day (before 10 a.m.) or later, after 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays aren’t as strong.
  • Wear a hat and clothing that will protect you from the sun.
  • Don’t sun tan and if you do, now is the time to stop.
  • Wear UV-absorbent sunglasses.
  • Drink plenty of water. Stay hydrated!

This year look for activities in your community. Many towns and cities are holding local Sun Awareness events. For more information on the Sun Awareness Program, click here.