Discuss sun exposure myths and facts by asking if the following statements are true (T) or false (F):
- The UV (ultraviolet) rays from the sun are responsible for many types of skin cancer (T)
- UV rays are strongest in the morning when the sun first comes out. (F)
They are strongest between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- If I get a “base tan” before going in the sun it is harder for the UV rays to penetrate my skin. (F)
No tan can protect you from the sun. In fact, when you see someone with a ‘tan’, you know that the skin has been penetrated. This is the body’s response to skin damage.
- Cloudy days are safe in terms of dangerous UV rays. (F)
UV rays can penetrate through clouds, fog and haze. Don’t forget that water, sand, concrete and snow can reflect harmful rays from the sun and cause skin damage too!
- Blistering sunburns during childhood can increase my chances of getting skin cancer later. (T)
You are also more at risk if you are fair-haired and fair skinned, spend a lot of time outside on a regular basis, and are taking certain medications.
- When buying sunscreen look for a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 and select a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects you against both UVA and UVB rays. (T)
For more information, visit the Canadian Cancer Society and review the “Spotlight on Sun Safety.”
Debrief by asking:
- What surprised you the most about what we learned about sun safety?
- Do you think most people your age use sunscreen on a regular basis when they are outside during the summer?
- Do you think most people your age use sunscreen during sunny winter days?
- Do you think most people your age wear sunscreen while playing outdoor sports?
- What do you think we could do to help spread the important information about sun safety that we have talked about today?
Brainstorm possible approaches (e.g., posters, assemblies, guest speakers, surveys,).
Invite students to follow through with an idea that can be shared with the class as a means of helping them to make smart choices about sun exposure.
Process the results by asking:
- Do you think your approach was effective and will help students to be more aware of the dangers of too much sun exposure? Share your thoughts.
- As a result of this activity, will you be more careful about sun exposure in the future?
- Where else do you think you could share this information?