As winter approaches, our skins may start to feel dry.  Having healthy skin is essential because it is the primary barrier between the outside world and your vital organs.  And yes, we want everyone to glow and look younger, but, more importantly, we want you to be healthy.


During the month of November, AFOP Health & Safety Programs staff join the effort to raise awareness about the importance of having healthy skin in order to prevent general skin problems.  Some of the most common skin problems that can affect people include:  acne, eczema, seborrheic dermatitis (a chronic form of eczema), and, worst of all, skin cancer.


The American Academy of Dermatology offers the following statistics on this disease:

  • Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.
  • Unfortunately, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
  • Alarmingly, 9,500 people in the US are diagnosed with skin cancer daily.
  • 20 people die of melanoma every day.
  • One blistering sunburn during childhood or adolescence can nearly double a person’s chance of developing melanoma.
  • UV exposure is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers.
  • Water, snow and sand can reflect and intensify the sun’s damaging rays.
  • Even on cloudy days, up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays can reach your skin.
  • Women younger than 30 are six times more likely to develop melanoma if they tan indoors.


Farmworkers suffer commonly from skin diseases.  However, there is very little research that reflects their prevalence and risk factors.  One thing we know and are sure about is that every year millions of farmworkers are exposed to over 1 billion pounds of harmful chemicals, and daily direct exposure to the extreme sun.  The combination of these chemicals mixed with increasingly hot temperatures may cause agricultural workers to suffer from a multitude of diseases, especially skin diseases.  These harmful chemicals can enter the body through different routes but mainly through the skin, causing it to break out or even develop rashes and other diseases.  On top of pesticide exposure, toiling constantly under the extreme sun can damage skin cells and eventually cause cancer.


During this month, AFOP invites everyone, including farmworkers, to perform a self-checkup.  If you happen to see something unusual or are not sure of what you see, please seek immediate medical attention.  It’s always better to prevent a disease than to treat it after it occurs.  It’s time to pay attention to your skin.  Do a routine checkup and ensure a happy and healthy life.


The American Academy of Dermatology provides a guide on how to perform a skin self-exam.  See the illustration below: