Skin cancer is almost completely preventable, yet it is the most common of all cancers in Canada and rates are increasing.

Exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) rays can lead to:

Enjoy the outdoors safely by protecting your skin and eyes from the sun. Follow the Ontario Sun Safety Working Group’s recommendations on:

  • Avoid tanning as it increases the risk of skin cancer.
  • Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and indoor tanning devices are carcinogenic (cancer causing).
  • Young people are vulnerable to the harmful effects of UV rays
  • It is illegal for people under 18 to use tanning beds in Ontario.
  • Using indoor tanning devices before age 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 75%.
  • Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer.

Quick Facts

  1. In Ontario, melanoma is the second most common cancer among 15 to 34-year olds. Melanoma is also the deadliest form of skin cancer. But, the good news is that most can be prevented by avoiding tanning beds and being sun safe.
  2. Tanning is not a safe Taway to get the Vitamin D your body needs. The safest way to get Vitamin D is through diet and supplementation. Follow Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide.
  3. A tan is not a sign of good health. Although people think a tan is healthy and beautiful, it is actually a sign of skin damage! Beautiful, healthy bodies come in many different shapes, sizes and skin colours. Try to be active, eat well and feel good about yourself.
  4. Having a base tan will not prevent you from getting a sunburn. A base tan will not protect you from getting a burn. At most, it is about the same as a sunscreen with SPF of just 2-4.
  5. UVR (ultraviolet rays) from tanning beds is not safer than UVR from the sun. UVR from tanning beds can be up to five times stronger than the noon-day sun. All UVR can cause premature aging, immune suppression, eye damage and skin cancer.


  • Outdoor workers often work when the sun’s UV rays are at their strongest.
  • Reflective surfaces (e.g. asphalt, concrete, sand, water, snow) can increase the harmful effects of UV rays.
  • Outdoor workers have up to 2.5 to 3.5 times greater risk of developing skin cancer than indoor workers.

Quick Facts

  1. Seeking shade when working outdoors is a good way to decrease UVR exposure. Seeking shade from trees, canopies and umbrellas reduces UVR exposure. If it is difficult to avoid the sun when working outdoors, try to find shade during breaks and between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  2. Outdoor workers are at higher risk for developing skin cancer. Outdoor workers who are regularly exposed to the sun for long periods of time are at higher risk. The good news is that skin cancer can be prevented by following our sun safety messages.
  3. Sunscreen is not the only thing you can do to protect yourself from the sun. See the Ontario Sun Safety Working Group’s sun safety recommendations.
  4. The higher UV (ultraviolet) index, the stronger the sun’s UVR (ultraviolet radiation). Check the weather forecast for the UV Index. If it’s 3 or more, sun protection is needed.

More Information

Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can lead to sunburns, skin damage, wrinkles and skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Canada, and rates are increasing. Enjoy the sun safely by following the Ontario Sun Safety Working Group’s recommendations on sun safety and using sunscreen.

Six Things to Know About Sunscreen

  1. No sunscreen provides 100% protection
    • Use sunscreen with other sun protection measures such as limiting time in the sun, seeking shade, wearing protective clothing and a hat, and wearing sunglasses.
  2. Sunscreen is safe to use
    • Health Canada regulates the safety, effectiveness, and quality of sunscreens in Canada. No published studies have shown that sunscreen is toxic to humans or hazardous to human health. Sunscreen may be used on babies over six months; avoid the mouth and eye areas.
  3. Apply sunscreen on skin that is not covered by clothes or a hat
    • Don’t forget your face, neck, ears, and the back of your hands and feet. Use sunscreen lip balm to protect your lips.
  4. Read the label and try it out
    • Choose a sunscreen that is labelled SPF 30 or higher, “broad spectrum” (UVA and UVB protection), and “water resistant”. Use a sunscreen that you like and find easy to use.
  5. Remember to use sunscreen
    • Use sunscreen when the sun’s UV rays are at their strongest, such as when the UV Index is 3 or higher, usually from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Apply sunscreen before other skin products. Re-apply sunscreen regularly, especially after sweating, swimming, or towelling.
  6. Are you wearing enough sunscreen?
    • Most adults need 2 to 3 tablespoons of sunscreen to cover their body; 1 teaspoon of sunscreen to cover their face and neck.

Things to Avoid

  • Getting a tan or a sunburn.
  • Exposing yourself to UV rays to meet vitamin D needs. Use food or supplements instead.

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