Skin Cancer, UV Radiation, and Sunscreen

June 15, 2016

Sunscreen. I heard that sh**t was flammable

But, if you don't use it you're at risk of getting skin cancer... 

What a dilemma.

Join me on a pseudo journey through a Seeds of Change Workshop on Sunscreen and Safe Summer Skincare

Girl standing in front of small group of people educating


Why do YOU use sunscreen?

Is it to reduce your risk of skin cancer?

Did You Know...

Skin cancer rates are going up exponentially?

Skin cancer is the most common cancer accounting for 1/3 new cases in Canada. It is predicted that 1/73 women and 1/59 men will deal with skin cancer in their lifetime.

Three types of skin cancer

  1. basal cell carcinoma
  2. squamous cell carcinoma
  3. malignant melanoma.

The first two, “the carcinomas” are less dangerous. They progress slowly, and are hopefully caught and surgically removed. 

The melanoma (I like to think meanie) accounts for 5% of skin cancer cases. It is more serious and can be fatal.

Skin cancer has been linked to SIX things...

  1. Family history
  2. Moles
  3. Freckles
  4. Sunburns (UVB radiation)
  5. UV radiation
  6. Tanning beds (UVA radiation)
    While the first three are related to genetics, the last three are related to human behaviour.


    Risk of skin cancer can be reduced by minimizing sunburns, UV damage, and avoiding tanning beds.
    You can use sunscreen to reduce your risk of sunburns and UV damage. 
    THEREFORE sunscreen CAN play an important role in reducing your risk of skin cancer. 


    UV Radiation. The A B C's.

    UVA rays and UVB rays

    UV ABC's:

    • UVA radiation (longer wavelengths) is associated with aging and melanoma.

    • UVA radiation (longer wavelengths) is used in tanning beds. Using tanning beds before the age of 30 increases your risk of skin cancer by 75%. 

    • UVB radiation (shorter wavelengths) is associated with sunburns. It is also associated with basal and squamous cell carcinoma. (Skin cancer at the top skin tissue)

    • UVC radiation (not pictured) has the shortest wavelengths and does not reach the earths surface.

    What does "BROAD SPECTRUM" mean on a sunscreen bottle?

    It is a term used to imply UVA and UVB protection, however It is NOT regulated and is a form of marketing. 

    Unfortunately, there are no rainbows in your sunscreen. 

    What's in your sunscreen.

    A chart of chemical absorbers

    Action steps:

    1. Go home and read your sunscreen bottle.
    2. See if they market "broad specturm" or if they specify UVA and UVB protection
    3. Compare the active ingredients with the chart above and check the toxicity rating, and the level of UV protection. 
    4. Choose Safe Summer Skin Cream 20% as your sunscreen product this season.