How to protect yourself from skin cancer
Last week we reported that recent research had found that the construction industry accounted for almost half of the deaths from work related skin cancer and over 40% of new cases each year. These are worrying statistics, but there are some very simple steps you can take to protect yourself from the risk of skin cancer while working outdoors.
- Wear long, loose clothing: Clothing protects the skin. Ideally wear clothing that’s made from close woven fabric as this protects your skin from UV rays.
- Protect your head and neck: 80% of skin cancers are on the head or neck so it’s essential you protect these areas. Wear a hat with a brim or flap to cover your ears and the back of your neck. Ideally fabric should have a UPF of 30+.
- Avoid mid-day sun: UV levels are highest from April until mid-September. Whenever possible stay in the shade during breaks and particularly between 11.00am and 3.00pm
- Use sunscreen: Use a high factor sunscreen and make sure you apply plenty of it, and re-apply regularly. This may seem obvious but often people don’t apply enough protection to exposed areas or leave sufficient time for the sunscreen to soak in before going outdoors.
- Drink plenty of water: This is essential in order to prevent dehydration and keep the skin healthy
- Check your skin: The earlier skin cancer is detected and diagnosed, the more effective the treatment, so regularly check your skin for any unusual moles or spots. If you find anything that is changing shape or appearance, continues to itch, bleed or seep then consult your doctor. Moles are the most aggressive form of skin cancer so pay particular attention to these
- Check the UV index: You can download apps which give you the UV rating as part of the weather forecast or visit the Met Office website.
If you work outdoors, you are being exposed to the sun on a daily basis so it’s essential that you take some simple measures such as the above to protect your skin - and remember cloud cover does not give you total protection from the sun.
Download our 7 Simple Tips to Protect Yourself from Skin Cancer guide for further information