Here comes the sun - What to wear to protect your skin this summer

A baby with heart sunglasses

Summer is just around the corner, which means people will be heading outdoors to enjoy the bright and sunny weather!  In Canada, sunlight is strong enough to cause skin cancer, premature aging of the skin and harm to the eyes. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer and it’s also one of the most preventable. 

Did you know that what you wear can make a big difference when it comes to protecting yourself from the sun? Reduce your risk of skin cancer by protecting yourself with a sun-safe summer outfit. 

Cover up with UV protective clothing
Look for clothing that’s specially made to protect you from UV rays. The label shows the UV protection factor (UPF). UPF measures a fabric’s ability to block UV rays from passing through and reaching the skin. The fabrics are classified into categories based on their UPF. Like a sunscreen’s SPF, the higher the UPF, the less UV radiation reaches the skin and the better the protection. Look for UPF 15 or higher. UPF 50+ blocks most UV rays.
Put on a hat
When it comes to hats, the bigger the better as it provides more coverage. Many skin cancers develop on the face and neck - these areas need extra protection. Wear a hat with a wide brim that covers your head, face, ears and neck. Hats like baseball caps won’t give you enough protection.
Use sunglasses
Sunglasses are not just a fashion accessory – they protect your eyes from damage by blocking UV rays. This is important for kids too! Look for the kind that have both UVA and UVB protection. The label might say UV 400 or 100% UV protection.
Try tightly woven clothing
Vests, neck shades, towels, headwear and bandanas may help keep your body cool, particularly those that have built-in replaceable ice or cooling packs. Clothing doesn’t have to be labelled with a UPF to protect you from UV rays. Any tightly woven clothing prevents the rays of light from passing through to your skin. If you hold the fabric up to the light, the tighter and closer together the fibres, the less the rays of light can pass through.
Remember to wear sunscreen
Sunscreen is one of the most important summer staples! Sunscreen absorbs UV rays and prevents them from penetrating the skin. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. It’s important to apply a generous amount of sunscreen to any skin not covered by clothing and reapply often throughout the day. If you’re going in the water, make sure your sunscreen is also water-resistant. Remember, use sunscreen along with shade, clothing and hats, not instead of them.

For more information about sun safety, visit our sun safety page, scroll to the bottom and take our quiz to see how sun savvy you are!