A new study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, shows that the sunlight entering the left side of the car contribute to skin cancer on the left side of the face and body.
Scott Fosko, MD, chairman of dermatology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and co-author of the study looked at the records of 1,047 patients referred to the University’s skin cancer unit. The research detected more skin cancers on the left side than the right side of both sexes, although the effect was stronger in men.
These findings aren’t news to the skin cancer community. Previous research has linked UVR to asymmetric facial distribution of skin damage and skin cancer.
However, the message is clear: people who spend large amounts of time in their cars are at risk for sun damage on their face and body.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
The glass areas in your car do not block UVR exposure. In addition, damage to the eyes from glare and direct UVR increases the more people drive.
Tinting automobile glass is typically considered a means of providing privacy. It is also a method of providing some sun protection. Tinted glass allows 3.8 times less UVA light to be transmitted to the interior of the car compared with untinted window glass. (UVB does not penetrate glass as effectively). Grey tinted laminated glass offers the highest UV protection with only 0.9 percent of UVA light transmitted versus 62.8 percent transmitted through non-laminated clear glass.
The American Academy of Dermatology offers the following advice:
“People who are considering tinting their windows should take their car to a professional auto detailing shop, in order to ensure that the tinting meets the federally mandated 70 percent of minimum visible light transmittance through the windshield.”
Further we suggest using driving gloves or a single, elbow length sleeve to ensure protection of your arm, especially when the window is down. These can be easily left in the glove box for accessibility. And we recommend making sure you have sunscreen on the lower part of your face and neck, particularly when driving west as the windshield visors can only offer partial protection. Wear sunglasses every day.
Be Safe. Be SunAWARE.