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Natalie Richardson

Natalie Richardson

Managing Director, Save Your Skin Foundation & Melanoma survivor

Melanoma is a dangerous disease that affects thousands of Canadians annually, but preventing it is simple.

Summer is around the corner, and you know what that means. Warm, sunny weather. Camping trips and park days. Shorts and flip flops. A suntan. Wait, scratch that.

Tanning is tempting, but it’s simply not a good idea. “No tan is a safe tan. Any darkening of the skin indicates UV damage,” says Natalie Richardson, a melanoma survivor and Managing Director of Save Your Skin Foundation, a national non-profit that raises awareness for various skin cancers through education, advocacy, and awareness initiatives.

Participants at the Save Your Skin Foundation Giving Hope event

Each year, over 80,000 Canadians are diagnosed with skin cancer — more than the number diagnosed with breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancers combined. Over 7,200 are diagnosed with melanoma — the most dangerous form of skin cancer — and over 1,200 die. Many skin cancers can metastasize, spreading to vital organs. “A skin cancer diagnosis of any kind can change your life forever,” explains Richardson.

The best summer accessory? Sun safety.

The good news: skin cancer is 90% preventable. Protection is vital. Richardson recommends staying out of the sun during peak hours (between 10a.m. and 4p.m.), staying covered up using UV clothing or tight-knit clothing, and wearing a hat, sunglasses, and a broad-spectrum 30+ SPF sunscreen. “Your skin is your largest organ. You should protect it at all costs,” says Richardson.

Loving the skin you’re in stems from taking care of yourself and your health. As Richardson says, “Feeling good is from the inside out.”

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