Your Uniform: The Other Sunblock

November 04, 2015

Each year, the Cancer Council Australia and the Australasian College of Dermatologists come together for National Skin Cancer Action Week, from November 15-21. With two in three Australians diagnosed with skin cancer by age 70, this week is a time to remind all Aussies of the importance of sun protection and early skin cancer detection. The theme for 2015 is “UV. It all adds up,” which puts focus on the unintentional UV damage that can accumulate when you forget sun protection.

Beyond encouraging consistent sunscreen use, is there more that you can do to protect yourself? Whether your business involves long hours outside, with little protection from UV rays, or only incremental exposure, it is actually recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation to cover as much skin as possible instead of just relying on sunscreen. Many textiles are naturally sun-protective, blocking the sun’s UV rays physically, rather than chemically.

Heatstroke and dehydration are also risk factors for businesses during the warmer months, especially for employees in construction, manufacturing and automotive industries. Even inside, temperatures can spike during the heat of summer, so switching to a summer uniform of long sleeves and pants may seem counter-intuitive, but as long as the clothing is made from a breathable fabric and constructed properly, you can benefit from its sun protection without overheating.

Lightweight cotton or poly blend in a white or pastel color can help reflect the sun’s rays as well as provide key ventilation, providing both the necessary UV protection and easing your concerns for your employees’ welfare and comfort. Picking the right covered and cool uniform isn’t always easy, but we’re here to help! Your local Australian Uniform location is qualified to help build a custom uniform plan for your industry, budget, and schedule.

National Skin Cancer Action Week is a great time to remind people to slip on sun-protective clothing, slop on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen, slap on a broad-brimmed hat, seek shade and slide on sunglasses. Along with providing proper uniforms, encourage your employees to take an active role in their health. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends monthly head-to-toe self examinations for skin cancer, which can be done in 10 minutes with this helpful guide. A combination of these measures, along with getting to know your skin and regularly checking so you can pick up on any changes, are the keys to reducing your skin cancer risk.