Your job might be aging you. Not only can sunlight find you anywhere—even at your workplace—but other environmental factors and stressors could be adding up to one big premature aging bomb.
The natural world can do a number on your skin.
Summer brings bright rays, which can cause DNA damage to your skin cells, wrinkling your skin and raising your risk of skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the United States. Hot, humid days can also exacerbate the effects of ozone pollution, a well-known health hazard.
In the winter, dry air zaps your skin of moisture while the sun can still cause harm.
Depending on your environment at work, your skin might fare even worse than the average individual. Stress, UV exposure and face time with smoke, pollutant and irritants can all play a role in how your skin ages.
When it comes to professions that run the highest risk of getting sun damage, lifeguards, park rangers, and any other jobs that require you to be outdoors most of the day immediately come to mind. Imagine our surprise when we learned that working in an office can be just as bad without the proper protection.
In today's news: Your job might be aging you. Not only can sunlight find you anywhere—even at your workplace—but other environmental factors and stressors could be adding up to one big premature aging bomb, bringing on wrinkles, dark spots, and sagging. And what's worse: these elements could also be upping your chances of skin cancer.
Keep reading to find out more about the 7 worst professions for your skin.
#1 Office workers
Office workers may be exposed to some UV and blue light from various lamps for many hours a day. This is hardly a good thing, as this over-illumination can lead to stress, fatigue, high blood pressure, and other health concerns.
Indeed one recent study found that compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs can damage skin cells, making your skin look older.
Regular 9-to-5ers with indoor corporate jobs seem unlikely candidates for being at high risk for skin cancer, but research shows that melanoma occurs when people are exposed to bursts of sun. For those who are indoors all week, the bursts of sunlight they get in the evenings and on the weekend can damage skin, as can the dry, indoor environment.
#2 Pilots and flight attendants
This profession requires a person to sit in front of a huge window in the cockpit where massive amounts of strong UV light is exposed to the skin and eyes.
Since UV light is the #1 cause of wrinkles, along with a pilot being closer to the sun, this can cause a lot of damage to the skin. As sunscreens don’t filter out 100% of the rays (even when re-applied often), this puts the skin in a vulnerable state.
Between cosmic radiation, the fact that airplane windows don’t properly screen out damaging rays, and the statistic that pilots have high incidents of skin cancer, you can see why this profession can affect the skin.
Flight attendants can experience some of this, but they are less exposed to the UV rays, since they are walking around the cabin and not sitting directly in front of the cockpit window. Still, airline crews are more likely to get skin cancer than the average person.
Smoke and exhaust can wreak havoc on the skin. Exposure to noxious fumes from flames can damage the DNA in your skin cells and possibly prompt skin cancer.
A National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found that firefighters actually have elevated risks of several types of cancer, including lung, due to on-the-job skin and lung exposure to tough contaminants.
#4 Truck drivers
We all know truck driving is no cake walk. Add the frustration of trying to exercise and eat well on the road to the existing occupational stress, and this job can wreak havoc on your skin if you let it.
Window glass filters out UVB rays, but just as UV rays can enter office windows, UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, coming right through — one reason why truck and taxi drivers skin might fare so poorly they come in on your driver's side window too.
Research shows that people who drive long distances, like truck drivers, have more signs of aging on their left side (the side exposed to the sun).
Exposure to hazardous chemicals in a work atmosphere laced with diesel fumes which can cause chronic skin problems. Smoking, which can cause cancer, and extreme fatigue – the two of most popular habits that truck drivers have – never benefit their skin, either.
#5 Construction workers
Construction workers experience some of the highest levels of sensitizing chemicals, both in terms of the number of different allergy-provoking agents they are exposed to and by the extent of the exposure level for each agent. Cement can, for instance, cause allergic contact eczema due to its chromate content, but it can also cause irritant eczema.
Ground and building surfaces can reflect UV rays back onto workers, intensifying the sun damage associated with these occupations. The fatality injury rate for construction workers is also higher than the national average, according to OSHA.
Hairdressers are at great risk of developing occupational eczema, both irritant and allergic, since they use many highly sensitizing chemicals in their work. They are even at risk of being sensitized to such things as the metals nickel and chromium.
Soaps, detergents, industrial cleaners, disinfectants and organic solvents can dissolve the natural layer of fat that forms a skin barrier and thereby cause damage to the cell membranes.
In addition, this makes the skin more vulnerable to exposures to other chemicals.
Hairdressing is one of the professions where only the use of appropriate gloves may best help to protect the hands from harmful chemicals. Extensive skin care is often a necessity, too.
#7 Mechanics and welders
All industries that cut, grind or machine metals use large quantities of metalworking fluids/cutting oils. Cutting oils act as skin irritants, but also contain potential sensitizers such as biocides and emulsifiers.
On-the-job chemical and heat exposure can cause rashes, allergic reactions and more in individuals who work with oil, grease and solvents. Welding, in particular, can cause UV radiation exposure, a study published in The Medical Journal of Australia found.