Indoor workers sitting by windows ‘at risk of getting skin cancer’

Sunblock should be worn indoors as UVA rays penetrate glass, says dermatologist

‘I have observed a number of people who come into me with severe sun damage down one side only, and I discover they are drivers or indoor workers such as primary school teachers’

‘I have observed a number of people who come into me with severe sun damage down one side only, and I discover they are drivers or indoor workers such as primary school teachers’

 

Indoor workers sitting beside windows are in danger of developing skin cancer down one side of their face from harmful UVA rays which travel through glass, a leading consultant dermatologist has warned.

Sunblock should be worn indoors all year round to protect from the rays, which also penetrate car windows, leaving those who drive a lot at risk too, according to Dr Rosemary Coleman.

The skin expert in the Blackrock Clinic in Dublin says we should not underestimate the strength of the Irish sun and wear factor 50 in an effort to decrease rates of skin cancer in Ireland – the 14th highest in the world.

Few of my patients seem to know that the UVA rays travel through glass, through cloud and through car windows

“It’s the office workers who go out for a blast of sun at lunchtime when the UVA index is at it’s highest that are the people getting more skin cancers than those who work outside,” she said.

‘Car windows’

“I find few of my patients seem to know that the UVA rays travel through glass, travel through cloud and travel through car windows.

“I have observed a number of people who come into me with severe sun damage down one side only, and I discover they are drivers or indoor workers such as primary school teachers. It’s these teachers that often sit at the same desk in the same classroom for years and years with the sun coming in on one side of them. Secondary teachers move around more to different classrooms.”

She said people who drive for a living should also be mindful of the sun coming through the vehicle’s windows.

“Depending on the make and model of the car, the windscreen will protect you from UVA rays up to 90 per cent, but side windows will only protect you about 40 per cent.

‘Protect hands’

“I always recommend that people should keep sunblock in the car at all times and people who drive a lot should wear Bloxsun gloves which protect hands from ageing.”

The Irish have a very high tendency to think our sun is weaker because we get less of it

Dr Coleman also warns not to underestimate the strength of the Irish sun.

“The Irish have a very high tendency to think our sun is weaker because we get less of it. In fact the Irish sun has a very high UV index.

“Ireland has the 14th highest rate of skin cancer in the world, which is amazing when you consider that New Zealand is top, followed by Australia.

“We have bad sun practices here.”