For 28 years, this man drove a truck. Bill McElligott was 69 at the time this story was published (in 2012), but looks much older on the half of his face exposed to UV radiation as he was in transit. Consider him the face of driver-side sun damage. And if you ever thought you were safer when the car window was closed, think again. Glass is no protection against UVA rays.
According to the case findings by Northwestern University dermatologists Jennifer R.S. Gordon and Joaquin C. Brieva:
The physical examination showed hyperkeratosis with accentuated ridging, multiple open comedones, and areas of nodular elastosis. Histopathological analysis showed an accumulation of elastolytic material in the dermis and the formation of milia within the vellus hair follicles. Findings were consistent with the Favre-Racouchot syndrome of photodamaged skin, known as dermatoheliosis.
The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. See the full story on Gizmodo – and note, this does not mean you should keep sunscreen in your glove compartment. An oven-like car interior can break down SPF formulas.
Keep sunscreen in your purse, instead. Oh, and make sure your arms are protected – driver-side sun exposure isn't limited to your face.
With all we've written about sun damage and skin, and all we've seen in the media, I'm still startled when I meet someone who tells me he or she loves the sun so much that they spend every minute they can outside and without a drop of sunscreen. Skin cancer risks aren't enough to make those people smarten up – it's a vague threat unless they're unfortunate enough to have to deal with it on a personal level, either via someone they love or as victims themselves. So we beauty-industry types try to appeal to the desire to look youthful. I'll be hauling out this post on poor Bill McElligott every once in a while just to make the point: this is proof of what unprotected sun exposure can do to your face.
Wear your sunscreen. Do it.