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Articles about Sun Safety, Skin Care and Tech delivered by OpenUV team.

Why You Should Be Sun Smart When Working Outdoors

For the vast majority of people in the US, overexposure to sunlight is not an issue. Many Americans even have an issue when it comes to Vitamin D deficiency. However, for many people who work outdoors, or otherwise stay outside often, they may be doing much more to their body than just tanning.

Damage From The Sun

While sunlight is essential for the body and the creation of adequate amounts of Vitamin D, even a small amount of sun exposure can increase your risk for skin cancer. In the UK, about 8 in 10 cases of a skin cancer known as melanoma are caused by overexposure to the sun.

There are two types of UV rays that are talked about when it comes to damaging your skin: UVA and UVB. UVB is the type that causes sunburn, while UVA is the type that penetrates deep into the skin, which damages DNA and ages it over time. This is why many doctors recommend everyone do a skin check monthly, such as looking for brown spots that are too large, or increases in size.

Skin cancer can develop when the DNA in your skin gets damaged through too much sun exposure. This can be so potent that getting a sunburn even once every 2 years can triple your risk for skin cancer. People who do work outside, like construction workers, farmers, and crossing guards, can be up to 10 times more likely to get this cancer, which makes it a serious concern for outdoor workers. The best practices when it comes to avoiding skin cancer, is to try to reduce UV exposure as much as possible.

What is the UV Index?

A great way to reduce UV exposure is by determining what the UV Index is. The UV Index is a scale that was created by the World Health Organization in order to determine the danger levels associated with UV radiation. While it can change depending on many factors, such as time of day and even weather, this number can go from 0 to 11 or even higher, the higher the number, the more risk you have of higher UV exposure.

For this reason, it is good to have a UV tracker like UVIMate, which is a phone app that can tell you what the UVI is like now and will be in the next 6 hours. It also can tell you specific information based on skin type, SPF, and even remind you of when to reapply sunscreen. This can help you on those long days where you work outside, and can determine the best times to apply sunscreen or wear clothes like hats to help protect you from the suns harmful rays.

Working outdoors can be highly beneficial, and can improve many aspects of your health. However, that does not mean that you have to put yourself at risk of getting cancer as a result.


Alex Ershov, Founder of OpenUV