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The hidden risks of sun damage for drivers

Everyone does it at one point or another. The car window comes down and your arm ends up “catching a few rays”. It’s one of the pleasures of driving in the sun, however a new study has shown the perils of this with alarming statistics including sunburn, accidents and an increased risk of melanoma to the right side of the body.

Bright SunshineThis new survey revealed that a quarter of drivers in the United Kingdom had received sunburn while driving, a staggering third of motorists polled admitted to having an accident or a near miss while trying to catch a tan and a majority of 81% of them were not concerned about getting skin cancer while driving. Added to this is the fact that half of the motorists polled were unaware that skin can be damaged while in a new or used vehicle, even with the windows closed.

To try and increase awareness of the dangers of skin damage to the right side of the body while driving, one of Britain’s leading skin cancer charities, Melanoma UK have used UV photo technology to show areas of skin damage that are invisible to the naked eye. By comparing the left side of the face, arm and shoulder which is shaded when driving to the right which is most exposed, they hope to show just how much the sun can damage drivers skin over any period of time.

The dermatologist leading the UV skin testing who is a representative of Melanoma UK, Doctor Christian Aldridge has stated that glass-just like clouds-doesn’t protect skin from UV rays. So simply winding up the window will not prevent the risk of asymmetrical sun damage.

With a worrying one in five motorists polled admitting to getting a red arm after driving it is clear that something needs to be done about the “white van tan” as it is known due to the pose commonly adopted by the white van driver. Half of the drivers polled spent one to two hours driving each day putting themselves at a higher risk of causing sun damage over time, especially during the summer months. The only sure prevention is to wear an SPF sun cream while driving to help prevent this or keep your sleeves rolled down.

It’s a sobering thought that something as simple as driving can increase the risk of skin damage as most people will happily apply sunscreen if they are planning on being out in the sun for any length of time. Hopefully the results of the UV skin testing conducted with this survey, shows the damage caused to one side of the body will serve as a reminder of the importance of protecting your skin whenever you are outside, whether sunbathing or driving.


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