Do you wear sunscreen while driving?
In case you’re thinking:
“Come on, Gio, I don’t need sunscreen while driving. The windshields are enough to protect me” or
“But I’m only driving a short distance – like, 10 minutes tops. Why would I put on sunscreen for that?”
Driving without sunscreen – for 10 minutes or one hour – can make one side of the face age faster than the other. Here’s what I mean:
Your Left side of the face is more prone to skin cancer
Did you know your left side of the face is more prone to skin cancer?
It’s true. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology has confirmed “an increase in photodamage and precancers on the left side of the face“.
The results are clear: in the US, 52.6% of skin cancers occurred on the left side, while 47.4% on the right side. When I mean skin cancer, I mean ALL types of skin cancer.
If we narrow it down to malignant melanoma (the WORST possible type of skin cancer), the figures go up. A staggering 74% of them occurred on the left side, while “only” 26% on the right one.
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Driving may be to blame for increased skin cancer on the left side
Why does skin cancer prefer the left side?
Susan T. Butler, MD, coauthor of the study, suggests that “the increase in left-sided skin cancers may be from the UV exposure we get when driving a car“.
Think about it. The left side of your face is closer to the window and so most exposed to UV rays when driving.
(FYI, if you live in the UK and drive on the right side of the road, the opposite is true for you).
You see, UV rays are present from the moment the sun comes up to the moment it comes down – even when the sun is hidden behind clouds.
Fun fact: UV rays can get through clouds and glass. That includes windshields, too.
It’s true that most winshields today protect against sunburn-causing UVB rays, they UVA still get through them. Plus, all the other windows in your car provide no sun protection at all – unless you have them tinted with strong UV filters.
You know what it means? Drive 5 minutes today without sunscreen, 5 minutes tomorrow and by the end of the year, your left side will be more sun damaged than your right one.
The Bottom Line
It doesn’t matter if you’re driving for 5 minutes or for 1 hour, always put on sunscreen before getting into the car – even ifs you’re a passenger.