How to be sun safe

It can feel great to get out and enjoy a sunny day but it’s always important to remember that if you’re out in the sun, you’re being exposed to UV rays. Exposure to UV rays can increase your risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, as well as eye cancer and lip cancer. We want to make sure you can enjoy the sun safely so we’ve put together this helpful how-to guide on staying sun safe.

A parent with two babies on the beach.

Remember to check the UV Index every day

The UV Index is a scale that ranges from 0 to 11+ that tells you how strong the sun’s UV rays will be. On days when the UV Index reaches 3 or more, you need to be extra careful about protecting your skin and practicing sun safety. You can find the UV Index as part of your local weather report.

Find some shade or bring your own

Shade is a great way to get out of the sun. You can sit under a tree or bring your own shade by packing an umbrella on a sunny day. Remember that if you can still see the sky from your shady spot, you still need to cover up with clothing, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. UV rays can reach you in the shade by reflecting off the surfaces around you.

Cover up

Did you know that clothing protects your skin better from the sun than sunscreen? You can stay sun safe by covering up as much of your skin as you can, with clothes made of tightly woven fabric. When buying clothes, you can also look for clothing labelled with a UPF (UV protection factor). Both clothing options can protect you from the sun.

Wear a wide-brimmed hat

Wide-brimmed hats are a great way to protect yourself from the sun. Just remember that only the parts of your head shaded by the brim are protected. Wearing a baseball cap will protect your face but leave your ears and neck unprotected.

Protect your eyes with sunglasses

Sunglasses aren’t just a fashion accessory. They are important for protecting your eyes from the sun’s damaging UV rays. You do not need an expensive pair of sunglasses to stay sun safe. By choosing a pair of close-fitting glasses in a wraparound style that are labelled with UVA and UVB protection, you’ll be stylishly sun safe.

Always apply sunscreen

It is important to apply a generous amount of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, to any skin not covered by clothing. Remember to make sure your sunscreen is water-resistant if you’re going in the water. Sunscreen is a great way to stay sun safe, but it should be used with shade, clothing and hats, not instead of them.

Enjoy the sun safely with more sun safety tips and information including a closer look at UV rays, safety tips for babies and children, as well as a fun survey to test how sun-savvy you are. You can also visit our website to learn more about skin cancer and what to look for.