By Dana Dougherty Reinke
Not only does the sun cause skin cancer, it also promotes aging,” says Toronto Dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett. “A tan is the skin’s protective response to injury by UV light,” she explains. “If you have a tan, you’ve damaged your skin.” And beware tanning salons, which are no better than direct exposure. Better bets are the self-tanning creams and sprays, which are worthy substitutes for UV rays. Because they spark a reaction only on the skin’s surface, these products can give you the colour you crave without affecting underlying pigment cells or advancing the aging process.
You can still enjoy the sunshine, but be sure to apply sunscreen every day, even in the winter. There are 80,000 cases of skin cancer annually in this country, making it the most common form of cancer in Canada. And while vitamin D has been found to help prevent breast and colorectal cancer, the Canadian Cancer Society says that, “just a few minutes of unprotected sun exposure every day could increase sun cancer risk.” Better to get the preventative dose of D through vitamin supplements, says Kellett.