HALIFAX – A Canadian Cancer Society campaign wants Haligonians to think twice before catching some sun and going tanning.
On Saturday, volunteers handed out sunscreen at Rainbow Haven Beach and collected signatures for a pledge asking people to avoid deliberate tanning and protect themselves from the sun.
The efforts were part of a campaign called Tanning Is Out.
“Tanning is something people to like to seek in terms of looking good, looking sexy and having a great skin tone,” said Alain Vallee, a community health program facilitator for the Canadian Cancer Society – Nova Scotia.
“[But] you can increase your chances very much of getting skin cancer and melanoma the more and more you are outside and getting UV exposure.”
Beach-goers Scott McGall and Mark Carberry told Global News that they were at the beach to play frisbee and soak in some sun, but neither brought sunscreen with them.
“I don’t burn. I’m quite golden brown,” McGall said.
“I never do. I didn’t bring sunscreen. It’s probably the last thing on my list,” Carberry said.
However, after some education from the Canadian Cancer Society, the pair said they would be changing their ways.
“Now that I know, I’m going to wear some sunscreen [when going to the beach],” said McGall.
Vallee said Maritimers seem to pose a higher risk for skin cancer, adding females in Nova Scotia have the highest rates of skin cancer in the entire country.
“Tanned skin is damaged skin and you are increasing your risk of skin cancer.”
“We want people to know orange is a snack, not a skin tone.”
Beach-goer Suzanne MacIsaac signed the no tanning pledge, saying she used to tan a lot when she was younger.
Now she wears sunscreen constantly and is trying to teach her children sun smart tips.
“They need to wear sunscreen every time they go out. It’s hot. The sun is a lot stronger than it was when I was a kid,” she said.
The campaign hit home for Kate Cordeau, who said she enjoys tanning but also knows the consequences of it.
“I’m more mindful because I’ve had family members pass away from skin cancer,” the teen said.
Suggestions from the Canadian Cancer Society to protect yourself include wearing a shirt and sunglasses when out in the sun and re-applying sunscreen every two hours and after a swim.
The Tanning Is Out campaign will be in Pugwash August 21 then at the Sand Jam Volleyball Tournament in Halifax August 29 to 31.