Reported by Ashley Wills
After seven months of covering up, Saskatchewan residents are seizing every moment to be outside.
But warm temperatures come with a high risk of burning.
“Skin cancer is the most common cancer that someone will get in their lifetime,” said Dr. Lisa Kellett with the Canadian Dermatology Association.
If the UV index is less than two you are not as likely to get a sunburn. But the higher UV index number, the greater the need to take sun protective precautions
There are several ways to protect skin from the sun — Kellett suggests seeking shade or avoiding the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on hot days.
“So if you’re playing tennis or golfing, try to golf early on in the morning or later on in the day.”
Other options include wearing sun protective clothing or using a proper sun block with UVA and UVB blockers and an SPF of 30 or higher.
Kellett said she looks for shirts and pants with a tighter weave.
“I tell patients to hold it to the sun and if you can’t see light through that, then that is protecting you from the sun.”
Some people believe that getting a base tan will protect the skin from a serious burn, but Kellett disagrees.
“Any time you tan your skin, you’ve damaged it. So if you have a tan, then you have damaged your skin,” she said.
It is also thought by some that tanning behaviour boosts endorphins – but for Kellett, the risk of cancer isn’t worth it.
“If you talk to any of my patients who do have skin cancer and who are coming in and I’m cutting it out, they will say that going out and getting a tan is not worth it,” the dermatologist said from her office in Toronto.
“It’s unfortunate that those people who have skin cancer can’t spread that message to people who are younger.”
There are other consequences that come from pursuing a golden tan.
“From a cosmetic point of view, the sun does cause sun damage in the form of brown spots, spider veins and skin tone and texture that is irregular,” said Kellett.
She added that more celebrities – like Nicole Kidman and Madonna – are donning pale looks.
Kellett recommends doing a skin self examination once a month to look for any new moles or moles that have changed in size, shape, colour or border.
“Our goal is to teach people to protect their skin, and if you have a tan you’ve damaged your skin.”
“As a dermatologist, I say no tanning at any time.”