Prevention of damage to skin caused by ultraviolet sunlight includes UVB & UVA.
UVB the short powerful and harmful rays that affect the outer layer of the skin. It causes sunburn and melanin production to provide a tan. It also damages DNA, leading to skin cancer.
UVA is longer rays that penetrate deeper, causing wrinkles, sagging and aging. May have a role in skin cancers.
Ninety percent of skin cancers are caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR).
For optimal health we require some exposure to sunlight. Sunlight is one of our major sources of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency in children may lead to bone and muscle weakness causing deformities such as rickets. In adults Vitamin D deficiency may manifest as bone and joint pain, osteoporotic fractures and difficulty in mobilising.
For a healthy lifestyle, we need to balance these requirements and at the same time reduce our risks.
Follow the Cancer Society Advice of SLIP, SLOP, SLAP AND WRAP:
- Slip into a shirt – slip into the shade
- Slop on the sunscreen prior to going outdoors and re apply regularly
- Slap on a hat preferably with adequate brim or flaps
- Wrap on a pair of sunglasses
Get to know your skin by performing regular self-checks of freckles, moles or other lesions on skin.See your doctor if any there are any changes.
Suggestions for reducing our risks for skin cancer but maintaining our exposure to Vitamin D
- Reducing exposure to sunlight between the hours of 11am and 4pm (UVR rates are higher during this time)
- If possible organise your work in relation to the sun and work in the shaded areas
- Co-operation with your employer in the wearing of PPE such as clothing manufactured with close weave materials to meet AS/NZS4399:1996
- Wear sunscreen that meets the AS/NZS2604:1998 and is at least 30SPF
- Hardhats may have suitable material flaps to provide protection to neck
- Reorganisation of work time to reduce excess exposure to sun