06 March 2017
Hi! I’m Sonny Burns, an Aussie tradie and self-appointed UV spokesperson. I love my job, but didn’t realise that as an outdoor tradie I’ll get up to ten times more UV exposure in a year than someone working indoors. Cancer Council SA has helped me realise that if I don’t look after my skin I’m likely to end up with skin cancer. So we got together and developed a campaign to remind us outdoor, hardworking types about how to keep our skin safe at work.
The missus will be pleased that she doesn’t have to look at my permanent sunnies tan anymore because soon it’ll be gone! It’s not too late for you to join me. Here’s the plan to reduce the risk of a nasty skin cancer:
1. Be in the know!
Download the SunSmart app to check sun protection times.
News flash: if the UV is set to be 3 or higher, that means your skin will be damaged in the sun. It’s a handy guide for when you to need to Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide.
My hot tip: set a reminder in the app so you check it every morning.
2. Find a good sunscreen
Ok, it has to be SPF 30 or higher, broad spectrum and water resistant. I’ve tried heaps, but always go back to dry touch and non-greasy creams. That means it won’t run into my eyes or leave greasy tools or finger prints on finished work.
My hot tip: leave one in your bathroom to use first up at home and one in your lunch esky, because sunscreen actually only lasts for two hours. The esky also keeps it cool which is super important, because if the sunscreen gets too hot, it won’t work.
3. Invest in a good hat
Guess where most skin cancers are found on us outdoor tradies? The face, neck and ears. Now I know the cap won’t provide good enough protection, I got myself a broad brimmed hat, but you can pick any hat that shades your face, neck and ears.
4. Embrace your modest side
In a nutshell, keep the sun directly off your skin by covering up with clothing. The most common place you’ll find a deadly melanoma on a bloke is the torso and arms. So, lose the singlets and short sleeves because they’re doing diddly squat. Loose fitting, collared shirts with long sleeves and long shorts or pants are the way to go. Flick the collar up to shade your neck.
5. Use shade
Eat your lunch under a tree or shelter, and move small jobs into the shade. Remember that UV is sneaky. Even when the sun doesn’t feel hot on your skin, UV levels can still be very high.
6. Always wear your sunnies
UV isn’t great for your eyes, so get a schmick pair of closefitting, wraparound sunnies to protect them. If you do all 6 steps together, like I am, the sunnies tan will be a thing of the past!
The plan really isn’t hard to do, I know because I do it. Remember, any sun protection items you buy for work are tax deductible, so keep your receipts.
And if you or a loved one have been affected by cancer, call Cancer Council SA on 13 11 20 for information and support.
Tradie and self-appointed UV spokesperson