How to Prevent Skin Damage from the Sun

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Although a nice tan is something that is often admired, if not done properly, it could lead to skin cancer. When you are outside working in your job, it exposes you to the harmful rays of the sun. If you don’t take the proper preventative measures to give yourself needed protection, you are putting yourself at unnecessary risk.

According to the American Cancer Society, “Many of the more than two million cases that are diagnosed each year could be prevented by protecting the skin from the sun’s rays, staying out of the sun during peak times of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and avoiding indoor tanning.” If working out in the elements is typically part of your job, it is mandatory to keep your skin protected at all times.

The American Cancer Society goes on to add, “For maximum protection, use the highest SPF available, never use sunscreen after its expiration date, and apply it liberally before going into the sun. During sun exposure, one full ounce should be reapplied every hour.”

One of the things an outside worker can do is to wear the right clothing. According to REI, “More and more outdoor clothing now carries a UPF rating. What does this rating mean? Why should you care about sun protection clothing?” REI goes on to add:

1. Sunlight includes rays of invisible ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and overexposure to UV rays can lead to sunburn, accelerated skin aging and skin cancer. Sunscreen and your clothing offer the main forms of significant UV protection.

2. All fabrics disrupt UV radiation to some degree. Clothing that does the best job carries an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) value. UPF ratings range from 15 (good) to 50+ (excellent).

3. Some individuals have an elevated need for UPF-rated clothing, including:
• Fair-skinned, sun-sensitive people
• Children
• People spending extended time at high elevation, in equatorial regions or on reflective surfaces (such as snow or water).

4. Not everyone needs to wear UV-protective clothing to guard against sunburn. People with "average" to darker skin types rarely get a sunburn on skin covered by clothing, even if they're wearing a basic T-shirt. Even so, UPF-rated clothing enhances everyone's protection against UV-related health risks.

The key factor to remember is to keep your skin protected. While for many people just wearing normal clothing can protect their skin, others must wear clothing that provides UPF protection. Everyone should protect exposed skin through the use of a quality sunscreen. One of the objections to wearing sunscreen is that it is messy and sometimes feels greasy. Today there are several types of sunscreen available that go on easily and do not leave a greasy residue on your skin.

Tom Borg is a consultant in leadership management, team building and customer service. Please see more of his blogs at
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