Protecting Your Skin at Work

Woman looking out of the window

Many of us are well aware of the havoc that our modern world wreaks on our skin.  We have heard countless warnings and admonitions cautioning us to pile on the sunscreen, abandon our cell phones and protect our skin against the elements.  Indeed, protecting the skin has become a priority when going to the beach or engaging in an outdoor activity, but, what if your job includes exposure to skin-damaging elements on a regular basis?  Skin issues affect more workers on a daily basis than you may realize and you may be among them!  Are you or any of your loved ones on this list?  If so, take heed!

Farmers and Landscapers
You may have guessed that farmers and landscapers are at risk for sun damage, but did you also know that the pesticides used in most agricultural production is a leading cause of melanoma?

Truck and Taxi Drivers
While the glass in most vehicles blocks out UVB rays, it does not filter UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply.  A study done by the New England Journal of Medicine confirmed that a 69-year-old who had been driving a taxi for 25 years had  a shocking amount of damage on the side of his face that faced the window of his car, while the other was noticeably less effected.

Pilots and Flight Attendants
A study by JAMA Aviation reveals that UV radiation is worse at an elevation of 30,000 feet, an altitude commonly experienced by airplane workers.

Woman looking in a pocket mirror at work

Office-Goers
Those bursts of sunlight that make their ways into an office building in the early evening may be more damaging than you think and so can that dry indoor air.

Workers
Despite getting 6-8 times the average dose of UV rays, only 14% of postal workers admit to wearing sunscreen during their 5-hour shift. Construction workers and roofers face more intense sun damage because of reflections off building surfaces. Welders face exposure to chemicals which may lead to rashes and allergic reactions as well as UV exposure from the oil, grease, and solvents that are associated with the job.

Keeping Safe
The warmer, longer days may have kept you extra-vigilant during the summer months, but don’t let the gentle fall breeze sway you off your skin protection game. Here are a few things you can do to keep your skin safe at work.

  1. Wear gloves, aprons, and protective clothing to keep skin away from oils, greases and chemicals.
  2. Wear clean clothes to work and remove oil or chemical soaked clothes right after work.
  3. Protect your hands with petroleum jelly, lotion or cream.
  4. Educate yourself about the best ways to get dangerous materials off of skin and how to get medical help if you do come into contact with these materials.
  5. Do not drink, eat, or smoke in your work area.
  6. If you work outdoors, apply sunscreen several times a day, wear sunglasses a wide-brimmed hat and long sleeves.

Whether your job requires you to work outdoors, or you’re getting exposed to those tiny bursts of sunlight and dry indoor air, these tips will help you protect your skin while at work. Remember, protecting your skin doesn’t interfere with your performance, it only ends up enhancing it because you know you’re taking care of yourself!

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