Miners under the Aussie sun - a growing client base for skin specialists

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If you're a miner with skin problems, it seems you're not alone. One WA skin specialist contacted Mining Family Matters after seeing an increasing number of miners with skin complaints. Here, Elisha Rounsevell from CosMedical Skin Solutions gives us the heads-up ...

Q: What are the major skin issues that seem to be affecting miners?

A: Dull, congested skin, visible signs of sun damage such as pigmentation, redness and various types of skin lesions, in addition to premature ageing including lines and wrinkles. Men who have unwanted body hair have also complained about being uncomfortably hot and sweaty. We're seeing these issues in men and women though.

Q: Do they seem to be from any mining sectors in particular?

A: Not that I've noticed. I would assume underground workers wouldn't suffer as much from sun damage but would probably still suffer from skin congestion from constantly being in a dusty, dirty and moist environment.

Q: How did you become aware of it?

A: Our new patient questionnaire asks their profession, and as their appointments can only be scheduled for when they are back in Perth we just started noticing we were getting more and more clients from this industry and began taking more notice. We've seen 20-30 miners in the past six months.

Q: Why do you think you’re seeing more people with similar concerns?

A: I don't think the industry would have changed, so I can only assume there are numerous other reasons ranging from the mining boom accounting for more employees in harsh working environments and an increased awareness of advanced cosmetic procedures which are also now more socially acceptable. Clients often say they just want to look and feel the best they can, now that they can afford it. I also believe that both men and women are now more aware of their appearance in a professional and social environment and are starting to taking better care of themselves. 

Q: What should people do to safeguard their skin before problems start? 

A: It is imperative they find a sunscreen they're comfortable using every day with regular re-applications. There are so many types out there these days - you can always find one that suits your skin type and environment. Just because it has to be a broad spectrum spf 30+ doesn't mean it has to be a thick and greasy dust collector that leads to blocked pores and skin congestion. I would also recommend they see a skincare professional such as a dermal therapist to ensure they are using the correct products to help prevent future problems occurring and to maintain and even improve their skins health and appearance.   

Q: What should people do if they’re noticing problems with their skin?

A: See a professional as soon as possible, as it's easier to prevent unwanted skin problems than to treat them. If they have any skin lesions/spots that are new or have changed in any way, they should always get them checked ASAP. Miners should remember that the Australian sun is extremely harsh and our rate of skin cancers is amongst the highest in the world. We can all enjoy our beautiful Australian climate and outdoor lifestyle, but we need to take care and protect ourselves and our families.

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