Skin cancer deaths in farmers over 65 are more than double the rate of other Australians. – The National Rural Health Alliance
In a country where agriculture is considered the backbone of the national economy, this statistic is highly concerning. As such, remaining protected from the adverse effects of sun exposure is of utmost importance on both a personal and public level.
Both the NSW Farmers Association and Solbari Sun Protection are committed to keeping Australian farmers informed about, and protected from, the sun. Sun damage is cumulative, meaning that it’s never too late to start protecting yourself from skin damage, ageing and possible incidence of skin cancer.
Prevention is the best medicine. Taking a moment to check your skin every month is a quick and effective way to prevent the evolution of an innocuous mole into a malignant nightmare. Check all areas of the body – even between your toes, fingers, and nails – and keep a note of any spots and moles. Any that change over time are worth a check in with your GP. Remember your ABC’s – Pay attention to:
- Asymmetry: the two halves of your mole do not look the same
- Border: the edges of your mole are irregular
- Colour: the colour of your mole is uneven, with more than one shade
- Diameter: your mole is wider than six millimetres in diameter
- Evolving: your mole changes over a variable time
When outside, keeping an eye on the UV index as it changes throughout the day is recommended to ensure maximal protection when the sun is most dangerous. The UV index is a measure of the level of UV radiation at a particular place and time – the higher it is, the greater the risk for potential damage, and the less time it takes for such damage to occur:
0-2 – Low; 60 minutes to sunburn
3-5 – Medium; 45 minutes to sunburn
6-7 – High; 30 minutes to sunburn
8-10 – Very High; 10 minutes to sunburn
It’s important to remember that the UV index is a standardised guide, and that skin types more susceptible to sunburn should take extra precautions when outdoors for prolonged periods of time – regardless of the UV index on that day.
Skin health and disease specialist Dr Deshan Sebaratnam highlights that, “both UPF clothing and SPF sunscreen are all elements of your armour that protect you from the sun.” However, dermatologists recommend utilising UPF clothing as our first line of defence against exposure to the sun’s harsh UV rays, and broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen as our second line of defence. Where sunscreen falls short in its inconsistent coverage, UPF50+ fabrics are unwavering in their ability to block up to 98% of all UV radiation.
What’s the difference?
Many people wonder about the difference between normal clothing and ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) clothing. After all, they don’t appear to look that dissimilar from each other. The level of protection offered by different fabrics varies, and clothing with a UPF rating of 30+ or lower is not considered protective. A normal t-shirt typically has a UPF rating of just 5, which means that 1/5th (roughly 20%) of UV radiation permeates its fabric and reaches your skin.
In contrast, sun protective clothing with a UPF rating of 50+ means that a maximum of 2% of all UV radiation reaches your skin. The NSW Farmers Association has partnered with Solbari Sun Protection to offer a discount on the UPF50+ Outback Shirt from Solbari’s Technicool collection at 30% off RRP. Click the links below to explore and simply use the code THANKYOU30 at checkout to redeem your discount.
Shop Men’s Outback Shirt UPF50+
Shop Women’s Outback Shirt UPF50+
The Good News
SafeWork NSW offers a rebate of up to $500 to small business owners and sole traders which can be used to purchase and install equipment to make their workplace safer. This includes sun safety items, such as sunshade protection for outdoor work areas.
Due to Australia’s high rate of skin cancer, professions which require employees to work outdoors frequently are afforded tax deductions. Farmers are included on the list of employees eligible to claim sun protection tax deductions. Sunglasses, sunscreen, and head gear are among the items that can be claimed through this scheme.
This blog is for information purposes only, always consult your medical professional for expert advice.