Sun Protection

Steps to Sun Protection during outdoor sport and recreational activities

  1. If possible, schedule physical activity outdoors before 11 am or after 4 pm when the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation is less intense. Use maximum sun protection if outside during this time period, especially between noon and 2 pm, the peak UV period.
  2. Seek shade under trees, umbrellas or awnings whenever possible.
  3. Plan ahead. Find out what the UV Index rating is forecast to be and use the index to guide your protection.
  4. Wear loose, lightweight clothing that covers as much of the body as possible, whenever possible.
  5. Wear a hat with a 7.5 cm (3 inch) or wider brim. Hats with flaps of fabric that cover the back of the neck are also recommended. Don't forget sunglasses.
  6. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, which is also broad spectrum. Use a water resistant, sweat resistant or sport sunscreen if you are involved in activities in water or will perspire a lot during the activity. Reapply the sunscreen after swimming, toweling or heavy perspiration. Apply an SPF 30 or higher broad spectrum lip balm.

Sun Protection tips for:

Choose a high SPF product - 30 - 60 - that offers greater protection as you will be out for more than four hours if playing 18 holes. Use a golf umbrella or golf cart for personal shade. If possible, wait for play in shaded, treed areas.

Don't forget to apply (and reapply!) a high SPF water resistant sunscreen to the tops of feet, forehead, nose, cheeks, tips of the ears and back of the next. These areas often get sunburned during water sports.

Choose a sunscreen that is sweat or water resistant and won't run into your eyes or be easily removed when you sweat.

If you are hiking in the mountains, be aware that you are at increased risk of sun damage because with every 300 metre increase in altitude, UV radiation levels increase by 4%.

A real or fake tan?
The success of self-tanners

Some people still feel a tanned skin is a sign of glowing good health rather than the damaged skin it really is. Dermatologists say that the best skin colour is the one you are born with. However, if you really want to look tanned, then use a self-tanning product.

Self tanning products are now so natural-looking that people have trouble telling if a tan is fake or real. Self tanners make your skin look tanned through a staining process using the ingredient dihydroxy-acetone or DHA. The products come as creams, lotions, sprays or gels, and in different skin shades from light to darkly tanned.

Remember though that self tanners do not offer any protection from the sun and sun protection is still necessary for your skin. Exfoliate the skin before applying for an even coloured look and wash your hands after application to remove the staining product from your palms. Fake tans last about three to four days.

UV Index

Environment Canada's UV Index is a measure of the intensity of the sun's burning UV rays. The higher the number, the stronger the sun's rays. The scale runs from 1-11 in Canada but may reach 14 or higher in the southern United States and the tropics.

The daily UV Index forecast is a prediction of the maximum UV strength for the day. This peak is usually reached in the early afternoon. UV Index forecasts are widely available between April and September. Your sources include local TV and radio stations and the Environment Canada web site.

Recommended Sun Protective Actions

Low - UV Index 1-2
Minimal sun protection required for normal activity.  Wear sunglasses on bright days and cover up and use sunscreen if outside for more than one hour.
Moderate - UV Index 3-5
Take precautions.  If outside for 30 minutes or more, cover up, wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen and look for shade near midday when the sun is strongest.
High - UV Index 6-7
Protection required.  Reduce sun exposure between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Take full precautions by covering up, wearing a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
Very High - UV Index 8-10
Extra precautions required.   Avoid the sun between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Take full precautions by covering up, wearing a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.  Unprotected skin will be damaged and can burn quickly.
Extreme - UV Index 11+
Take full precautions.  Avoid the sun between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Cover up, wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.  Unprotected skin will be damaged and can burn in minutes.

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