When the weather is warm and sunny we think about what we can do to protect ourselves from the sun's rays but did you know that even if it’s a rainy day, the sun still gives off an ultraviolet light that can be damaging? When you think it may be cloudy and you’re in the clear, you’re not exactly right. Whenever you go outside, you are exposed to the sun, and it’s important to know the effects of sun exposure.

Even though you are unable to see UV rays, they can go through your skin. The Epidermis is the outer layer of skin, and the Dermis is the inner layer. Your blood vessels and nerves are located in the Dermis. Your Epidermis cells contains a pigment called melanin.

Melanin creates Vitamin D and also protects our skin. When your body is defending itself against UV rays, your skin tans or darkens. If you are exposed to too much sun, UV rays can reach your inner skin layers. This is also known as sunburn, which can cause skin cells to die, damage or even develop cancer.

There are some benefits to being exposed to the sun and its UV rays in small amounts. It can help with your Vitamin D or Calcium count, and if you suffer from conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, rickets or jaundice, UV rays can help clear these up. However, too much sun exposure can be harmful. It can lead to:

  • Skin changes. Some skin cells with melanin can form a clump, this creates freckles and moles. Over time, these can develop cancer.
  • Early aging. Time spent in the sun can make your skin age faster than normal. Signs of this are wrinkled, tight, or leathery skin and dark spots.
  • Lowered immune system. White blood cells work to protect your body. When your skin gets burnt, white blood cells help to create new cells. Doing this can put your immune system at risk in other areas.
  • Eye injuries. UV rays can damage the tissue in your eyes. They can burn your outer layer called the cornea. They can also blur your vision. Over time, you can develop cataracts. This can cause blindness if left untreated.
  • Skin cancer. Most skin cancer is nonmelanoma. It’s very common, but also very treatable. Melanoma skin cancer is not as common, but is more severe. Skin cancer can spread to other areas in your body, especially if left untreated.

With all of these risks, how can you protect yourself, your schoolchildren, or your employees if they are exposed to the sun during the day?

  • Use sunscreen. The higher the SPF, the more it will protect you against UV rays. This should be applied 30 minutes before exposure, and then applied every two hours. Don’t forget areas you may overlook such as your ears, lips and hairline.
  • Take breaks. If you’re expecting your staff to spend 8 hours outside, you need to offer more breaks than you usually would where they can go inside. Otherwise, using an Umbrella or something else to create shade outside where the can rest from the sun is a recommended idea.
  • Prioritise hydration. Taking water breaks and encouraging children and staff to have a water bottle with them to sip throughout the day can help with some dehydrating effects the sun has. 
  • Cover up. You can ask your staff to wear clothing and hats that protect their skin from UV rays. This is also especially relevant for children who are more sensitive. If possible, you should also wear sunglasses to block the UV rays.

It’s important that as an employer, teacher or facilities manager, you have items and measures in place to protect people from harm. At TDB Supply Solutions, we offer a range of Sun Protection dispensers that makes it easy for your staff to quickly and efficiently use Sun Cream on their exposed areas before heading outside. We even have a dispenser with a mirror so that people can make sure they don't miss any skin when applying!

You can see the full range of products we offer here.  If you have any queries about which product is best suited to you, please drop us a message to info@tdbsupply.com or call us today on 01202 232 640.

Information regarding sun safety found here.

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