Thank goodness for summer! Vancouver is currently experiencing one of the hottest summers in recent history. In fact, some areas of the lower mainland recently reached temperatures approaching 40⁰ Celsius- that’s HOT. We all realize it’s dangerous to spend too much time in the sun, dehydration and severe sun burns are too often side effects of summer fun. We’d all like to prevent these nasty outcomes, so what’s the best way to do that?
Stay hydrated – and when I say stay hydrated, I mean drink water or coconut water, ideally from a glass or stainless steel container. Please stay away from artificially flavoured neon sports drinks (you know who I’m referring too). As Dr. Serné mentioned in her blog on water, add sliced fruit if you’re not a fan of pure water.
Wear sunscreen – sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 helps to reduce your risk of sunburn, via UVB exposure. However, keep in mind that many sunscreens with a high SPF will not protect you from UVA rays, which do not cause burns, but contribute to the development of serious skin damage and melanoma – the most deadly skin cancer. The solution? Wear protective clothing, avoid prolonged sun exposure, and wear a broad spectrum sunscreen without common additives like retinyl palmitate, which may promote the development of skin tumours in sun exposed skin (how perfect!) or oxybenzone, a known hormone disruptor. Most commercial sunscreens contain both of these additives. Mineral sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are a great alternative to traditional sunscreens, and offer broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection. The added bonus? Sun protection starts immediately – no need to wait 30 minutes in the shade.
If you find yourself in the sticky situation of being at the beach without your mineral sunscreen, a traditional sunscreen is better than none at all, but keep in mind it won’t be effective until about 25 minutes post application.For more information, and to see how your sunscreen stacks up, visit the Environmental working groups sun safety page at this link.
Enjoy the outdoors this summer!
Dr. Kaleigh Anstett