Protecting Your Skin When Working Outdoorsby Brian Guy
Here is a topic that hits home for me and something I’ve been struggling with for a couple years now. I feel it pertains to a majority of detailing companies and people in general all over the world, particularly folks in the subtropical locations. Skin Cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the United States, fair-skin people like myself especially. However, it can creep up on you no matter where you are.
There are 3 common types of skin cancer (Basal Cell, Squamous Cell & Melanoma) and in that order of harmfulness. As I began to look further into skin cancers over the course of the last two years or so, I get frustrated about it because it is kind of unavoidable. The only real prevention is to stay clear of the sun…okay, how do I do that living in the sunshine state? This particular problem will probably change my life since I’ve always been an outdoors person. I’ve had two major Mohs surgery’s during 2015 (both on my neck and in the same general location, my driver’s side) to remove rather large and aggressive squamous cells carcinoma (SCC). The first procedure they cut a hole in the side of my neck almost the size of a golf ball and the second (10 months later) about the size of a quarter. I have so much scare tissue right below my left ear I don’t think it will ever feel the same again and most likely I’ll require more mohs procedures in the future. Having the privilege to be an author here at Detailed Image gives me the ability to reach more viewers with my post and help spread the awareness. As I have been getting older, my concentration has been to be more helpful to the people around me. I could have protected myself better in my early 20’s and this is the reason I thought this would be a good article for all of you DI readers. We become educated because of our mistakes and we as DI authors are here to help so that you don’t make these mistakes.
Let’s compare skin cancer to vehicle care for a second: What happens to car materials when they’re unprotected for many years? Unprotected paint will fade and oxidize, trim and tires will dry and crack, you get the point! Skin cancer is like paint oxidation and it’s either sever or mild, but at the end of the day it’s still oxidized and will never be the same again.
A majority of people do their car cleaning and detailing outdoors and mostly on nice days, I would imagine. I see it all the time here in the state of Florida, everybody out trying to get some sun while washing the car (note: washing your car in direct sun can cause problems to the paint, such as water spots for example). If it’s a periodical thing it’s not so bad but if you’re out in the sun detailing day-in and day-out, you’re asking for trouble (with mobile detailing especially). I spent most of my 20’s working outdoors or hitting the beach thinking my skin would adjust and I was not protecting myself like I should’ve been. I ran a mobile operation my first 6 years in detailing, working sun up to sun down on the asphalt. It wasn’t till many years later that it all caught up to me and the damage was done! Over the last 6 plus years till now I’ve done a really good job at not working outdoors too much, my time at the beach has mostly been during sunsets and when I visit theme parks with the family I’m wearing sunblock and a hat. This is how I know it could have been prevented to a degree. I knew fair skin ran in my family, I have been crispy fried and burnt more times than I can count and I hate the doctors. Bad on me for thinking I’m invincible…
I try to stay on top of it now by putting on a special order AVEENO PROTECT + HYDRATE Lotion Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum SPF 30 every morning whether I’m in the sun or not. I’ve yet to find this product in any store, but it’s been the only SPF that doesn’t cause irritation to my skin. I like it because it’s not greasy and oily as well. I had tried several samples from the doctors this year to find a good match for me. Clothing gear from Coolibar.com will be the outdoor work attire from now on, we’ll just take it over to the embroidery shop for some special added touches.
- Wear sunblock
- Cover your skin (hat etc.)
- Visit the dermatologist once a year
Skin Cancer Types:
- Basal Cell
- Squamous Cell
Skin Cancer Facts:
- 90% of skin cancer is caused from ultraviolet radiation from the sun (most common form of cancer – about 3.5 million cases a year in the US)
- People with light colored hair (blond & red) and eye colors of blue, green and grey hold a higher risk of getting skin cancer
- Over 3 thousand deaths a year from advanced cell occurrences (we’re talking 10 plus years of neglecting of treatment for this to happen)
- You can get it no matter what your skin color is – light or dark
- Chemical Exposure increases the risk
- Men are more likely to develop skin cancers than women (but not excluding)
- 50% of people over the age of 50 will most likely be visiting the dermatologist
- One bad burn at childhood doubles the risk later in life
- and most images you’ll see by googling skin cancer will scare you silly
Much like all the talk we as detailers say about protecting the car, UV protection for the paint, best protection etc. etc. PROTECT YOUR SKIN
- Apparel (www.coolibar.com)
- Vehicle Window Tint
It’s so easy for us as detailers to be neglectful, a lot of us even neglect our own cars because we don’t have the time or it’s the last thing we want to do when not working. As I’ve humbly admitted to my own mistakes, I will say, our cars are replaceable, we are not! Be sure to protect yourself when outside working! Thank You for taking the time to read and I wish you all good health!
loving that first picture !
Jinx! You owe me a coke 🙂 Thanks James!
Same here, that is a sight of beauty. That is what we strive to achieve.
For me, I’ve never found any type of detailing done in the sun to turn out right. The sun causes more problems (or hides them, blinding) preventing an outcome like the opening picture. Detail in a garage or outside on a cloudy day. For me, I’m lucky in that where I’m at there is low pollution so rain water does not spot.
When it comes to cancer, I’m really worried however about some of the coatings. I think extra care should be taken with them.
A excellent replacement line of sun screen products to Aveeno is a brand called Elta MD Suncreen. Very highly recommended by dermatologists. Just like you would invest wisely in your polishes and detailing arsenal, you would also invest a little more for a quality sunscreen lotion.
Great way to look at it David! I agree now, It’s worth the investment.
Thank You for taking the time to read this!
Thanks for writing about this; it is important for people to know. Little different fact pattern for me, but similar outcome. I worked in an office for 38 years, and ran outside at lunch time almost every day of that time. No sunblock for me until my first basal cell cancer at age 50. I’ve had 8 small basals removed, and two Mohs on my ear and face.
Listen up, folks. This man knows of what he speaks.
Dave, Thank You so much for taking the time to read this! I hope I have most of it under control by the time I hit 50. I have 2 appointments next month. Health is rarely talked about in this industry… Until you end up at the Dr. office… Please take care and continue to protect yourself.
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