Melanoma awareness month: why you should wear sunscreen every day

May is Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month and I feel compelled to speak on this matter. Skin cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer (by wearing sunscreen). Sun is the number one cause of skin cancer and currently Canada has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world.

A big thanks to our amazing skincare community and prominent YouTubers, who have been able to really spread the word about the importance of wearing sunscreen. It can be difficult to find the right facial sunscreen and everyone has their own reasons. The skincare companies are finally listening to the consumers to develop suitable formulas dedicated to all skin types and colours.

Since I am just an informed consumer and not a dermatologist (disclaimer, DUH), I wanted to dig deeper on the facts surrounding skin cancer. I did so by attending a webinar hosted by Save Your Skin Foundation and Dr. Thomas G. Salopek from University of Alberta.

To ensure it’s a credible source, I confirmed he’s a professor in the medicine department and dermatology division. He demonstrated TONS of knowledge on this matter, and, I’m here to summarize the most important key findings I took away.

Melanoma explained

Men are more likely to develop skin cancer than women

Skin cancer is actually the 8th most common cancer, at least here in Canada. The statistics indicate that men are more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma than women. More specifically, 1 in 57 men are expected to develop melanoma during their lifetime and 1 in 227 will die from it.

This indicates to me the utmost importance for MEN to be extra cautious and to take care of themselves. Guys, please, wear your sunscreen! Especially if you’re directly exposed to the sun. That being said, the stats for women are nothing to scoff at, so we all have to be prudent when it comes to sun protection.

Melanoma is primarily found in Caucasians, however, that doesn’t exempt all shades of skin colour

According to Dr. Salopek, melanoma is primarily a cancer found in Caucasians, especially those who display these traits:

  • High tendency to sunburn

  • Inability to tan and/or fair complexion

  • Blue/lighter coloured eyes

  • High volume of surface moles & Dysplastic nevi (these are moles that are larger than the average mole)

  • Freckles

  • Red or blond hair

If you identify with many of these traits, be sure to always wear sunscreen and protective clothing.

Yes, research suggests that Caucasians have an increased risk, but that doesn’t mean a person of colour doesn’t have take preventative measures. EVERYONE is susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer. Remember that!

Warning signs of skin cancer

Not being an expert on this matter, I did discover you should request for an additional skin examination when you’re getting your yearly physical examinations. It only takes a few minutes, yet this procedure isn’t usually included in a standard physical check-up.

Additionally, you can easily perform self-examinations such as the ABCDEs and SCANs. If you are worried about moles getting bigger or new moles popping up over time, again, visit your doctor.

Mole check: its as easy as ABCDE and wear sunscreen

Image credit to Save Your Skin Foundation and Dr. Salopek for providing this during the webinar

SCAN your skin and look for a spot or mole

Image credit to La Roche Posay on the awareness of melanoma

Preventing the increased risk of skin cancer

Be mindful of the sun

Aim to do your outdoor activities before or after the sun’s peak hours, if possible. Dr. Salopek suggested doing them either before 11am or after 5pm.

Wear protective clothing

Of course, avoiding the sun’s peak hours isn’t always an option. However, covering yourself up can assist tremendously in avoiding sun damage by wearing protective clothing such as sunglasses or a hat.

Save Your Skin Foundation has a resource list of UV protective clothing that has been specifically designed to filter out the harmful UV rays. To note, the most famous ones you’ll recognize are Patagonia and Columbia.

Most IMPORTANTLY, wear SUNSCREEN all year long!

If this one isn’t obvious, then I really don’t know what to say! You even have to wear sunscreen when you’re indoors because the UVA light can penetrate windows (and even cloud cover).  Crazy right!? Unless you plan on sitting in a windowless room, I suggest slathering on some sunscreen.

Ideally, especially if you’re out in the sun, you want to reapply your sunscreen every two to three hours.

My personal favourite facial sunscreen recommendations

MISSHA All-around Safe Sun Block Soft Finish SPF50 PA+++Missha Sun Milk Soft Finish SPF 50 PA+++.png

This is an absolutely stunning lightweight Korean brand sunscreen (remember my K-brand post!?), which is perfect for those who have normal to oily skin. It’s a physical sunscreen that contains zinc oxide, as well as soothing ingredients like aloe barbadensis leaf extract (derived from aloe vera plant!)

It has a slight white cast when you first apply the sunscreen. If you properly spread it over your face (like spreading that delicious Nutella on your toast, hello!), it dries town to a beautiful matte finish. They also have a waterproof and essence version.

La Roche Posay Anthelios Mist SPF 50ANTHELIOS_MIST_SPF_50_FOR_BODY-removebg-preview.png

This is a dry mist chemical sunscreen that contains homosalate and octocrylene, both oil-soluble. It also includes mexoryl, which is a L’Oreal exclusive chemical sunscreen ingredient. L’Oreal is La Roche Posay’s parent company, if you didn’t know!

Being a dry mist, it’s perfect for reapplication throughout the day, especially if you’re wearing makeup. Better yet, if you don’t have the ability to wash your hands (let’s say you’re on the beach), this would be perfect solution. It can also be used on the body, although, being rather pricey, I would reserve this for application on the face.

Paula’s Choice Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF50YOUTH-EXTENDING_DAILY_HYDRATING_FLUID_SPF_50-removebg-preview.png

This is a beautiful lightweight  all-in-one chemical sunscreen and moisturizer that contains Avobenzone (2%), Octinoxate (7.5%), Octisalate (5%), and Octocrylene (2%). It also includes  several antioxidant and soothing ingredients which allow your skin to combat collagen-damaging free radicals.

It does provide a matte finish, however, I found that for my oily skin it still wears a little greasy throughout the day. This may be due to the fact that I used it as both my moisturizer and SPF protectant. I suggest applying a more hydrating moisturizer prior to this fluid to achieve less of a slick finish throughout the day.


Good news everyone, I’m currently in the process of testing out even more sunscreens. I’ve tried many (like, A LOT!) and several haven’t worked for me, which is why I refrain from including them here. Stay tuned for an additional list of sunscreens in the upcoming summer months!

I highly encourage to watch the melanoma webinar hosted by Save Your Skin Foundation. They also have amazing resources and information available to you.

Finally, I beg you to take the extra (short) time to protect your skin from the sun. This can potentially save you from developing melanoma over time – which has proven to be be both fatal, yet preventable. Let’s continue to spread awareness on skin cancer in May, and encourage everyone in your life to start wearing sunscreen!

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10 Comments

  • Natalie Richardson says:

    Great post Fleur – thank you for sharing this information!

  • Dutchie says:

    Thanks for publishing such informative article, Fleur. In Europe we adore the sun and using SPF is not a very common thing. Also, I remember that in the early days, SPF didn’t go higher than 30 and we only used it while on the beach. And when someone got a sun burn, we just laughed and put slices of cucumber on it to cool it down. You are absolutely right, we need to include SPF in our daily skin routine. Now one more challenge to go: introduce this to my husband.

    • Fleur Boomsma says:

      Thank you for sharing this little story! If we can normalize the use of sunscreen a lot of skin cancer could be prevented! Luckily the skincare companies are getting more innovative with their formulas to make sunscreen attractive for everyone of all skin colors/conditions/types!

  • Eva B says:

    So informative! Thank you for the sunscreen recommendations xx

  • Jennifer says:

    Sunscreen can save your life!!

  • Sue says:

    Your hair looks lovely. I want to try this now.

  • Celine says:

    Hello! I want to ask, after using the innisfree super volcanic mask, you rinse it off and then do you apply your skincare after that? or do you just leave your bare face after rinsing the clay mask off?

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