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I have plenty of wonderful Canada Day memories and what they all have in common is sunshine. But according to the Canadian Cancer Society, ultraviolet radiation is the most important risk factor for developing skin cancer and they recommend applying sunscreen to reduce this risk.

Recently, however, a backlash has been brewing. Some experts claim that avoiding rays limits any benefits we might receive from sun exposure, including vitamin D, and that official sun-exposure guidelines fail to consider differences among skin tones. Furthermore, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that active ingredients in chemical sunscreens can be absorbed into the bloodstream, a fact that in itself isn’t necessarily dangerous but is still prompting concern.

With all of these reports, it’s important to remember that sunscreen is proven to reduce the development of skin damage that can lead to melanoma, a skin cancer that took the lives of 1,250 Canadians in 2017. What’s more, sunscreen is also proven to stave off signs of aging (this is a beauty column, after all). Being smart about sun exposure is sensible. On July 1, what could be more Canadian than that?

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