Photo Credit: Aditya Romansa on Unsplash
November is here and the earthy smell of grass and the warm touch of the sun are all but gone in Canada.
But soon, they will return. And when they do, the bittersweet reality of those moments need to be acknowledged.
If we are not careful out in the Sun, we put ourselves at risk of long-term skin damage.
Growing up, putting on sunscreen (or even just wearing a hat) seemed to be so much harder than it was. For instance, I saw it as something that had to be done to avoid the dreaded parental lecture, rather than something I chose to do for my own wellbeing.
In fact, there were times where I tried to sneak out of the house before my parents had the chance to drag me back and put on a layer of protection. I would even go as far as purposefully “forgetting” my sunblock to see how long I could last without burning and to prove a ridiculous point.
Did I prove it?
Not at all. Now, all I am left with are an overwhelming number of sunspots on my scalp and arms.
This makes me wonder: if putting on sunscreen and protecting your skin from the sun’s UV rays was so important, why did so many of us hate doing it? It should not be any different from putting on a seatbelt or washing your hands.
Was it seeing so many people tanning that idolized “glow”? Was it my grandparents laughing as they watched my mother apply sunscreen on my six-year-old self and making comments about her not letting my skin to “toughen up”?
All these events have the tendency to accumulate in a young child’s mind, and now they are the ones who must pay for it.
In the 1960s Canadians had a 1 in 20 chance of getting skin cancer. Now, according to the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation, it is a 1 in 6 chance.
And of these, 80-90% are caused by UV radiation.
Our skin is not something that needs to “toughen up”, but rather something we need to nourish and appreciate. It is time we start making room for sunscreen in our skin care routine and making hats an outfit staple.
If we cannot make ourselves take the necessary steps to prevent skin damage, how will we ever convince the children of next generations?
Although the clock is ticking, there is still a chance to set the foundation for effective skin disease prevention.