Skin Health: Heat Exposure & Firefighters

Firefighters are American heroes, however, the rigors and exposure to extreme weather conditions can leave the skin damaged. By incorporating skin health practices into their daily routine, firefighters are able to have a hand in protection against illnesses.

Firefighters are our saviors in our time of need. They were there during the tragedy of 9/11. They were the hands of salvation for millions across the nation when all seemed lost. Through these bold and selfless acts of heroism and courage, sometimes, the ones that are sacrificed are themselves. Because of these moments of courage under fire, it can become easy for some of these brave men and women to overlook their own needs.

Skin health reaches beyond vanity or cosmetic needs. Skin care can affect our health, our emotional state, our energy, and our immune system.

Exposure and the Elements

Firefighters are known for their tenacity in spite of extreme climate conditions. These men and women brave the elements whenever they are called upon. Some of these conditions can damage skin, leaving these individuals prone to numerous skin disorders. Needless to say, our skin is the frontline of defense against illnesses caused by bacteria, germs, and viruses. It is vital to uphold and promote skin health regimens in order for the body to remain functional, healthy, and energetic.

 Sun and Heat Exposure

In order for firefighters to carry out their duty, they must brave extreme heat. However, this heat is not only derived from the fires they fight, but also from the sun. Prolonged exposure can lead to several skin disorders. This is from the types of ultra violet rays the sun emits. UVA rays contribute to age spots and wrinkles, while UVB rays contribute to sunburn and skin cancer. In light of this, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen of SPF 30, or higher.

Wind and Frost Exposure

Even for those that work in cities where winters can be harsh and extreme, wind exposure and the cold can cause as much skin damage as the sun. Repeated or prolonged wind exposure can lead to “wind burned” skin. This produces dry lips, and chapping around the mouth. This chapping can lead tiny cracks in the skin. However, lick the lips leads to a further drying out of the skin. This, in turn, leads to greater chapping, drying, and skin cracking.

Working in these cold environments may also cause skin damage from dryness. However unpleasant this may sound, the dryness becomes worse than merely an uncomfortable feeling. The skin, in some cases, may become so dry that it results in peeling, cracking, and can result in eczema. This causes the skin to become inflamed and irritated.

What can be Done?

Using sunscreen can help protect against skin damage from sun exposure in both, the summer and the winter. But there is more that can be done. According to the American Skin Association, eating foods that supply recommended servings of vitamin A can help to maintain healthy hair and skin. Riboflavin and Niacin, also known as vitamin B1 & B3, can help aid in skin disorder prevention. These vitamins concentrate around the nose, lips, mouth, and areas especially vulnerable to sun exposure. This is very important for firefighters, especially.

Vitamin B6 also assists skin disorder prevention by helping to prevent cracked skin on and around the mouth. Skin healing is promoted by taking recommended servings of vitamin C, while skin vitality and health are restored by vitamin D. Although, the most important nutrient is water. Water replenishes, rejuvenates, and revitalizes the skin. It keeps the skin healthy, hydrated, and soft.

Washing regularly will continue to help to keep skin vibrant by getting rid of dead skin, germs, and bacteria. Keeping your nails trimmed helps to aid in the elimination of bacterial growth. Keeping your hair washed every 2-3 days will help to remove any particles that may be harboring germs or bacteria. Between good hygiene practices and a well-balanced diet, the skin will remain healthy, reinforcing your body’s ability to ward off illnesses.


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