SUMMER DRIVING PUTS UK MOTORISTS AT INCREASED RISK OF SKIN DAMAGE ON RIGHT SIDE OF THE BODY

 

  • TEST REVEALS HOW LONG TERM EXPOSURE TO THE SUN WHILE DRIVING CAN LEAD TO WRINKLES, LEATHERING, SAGGING, BROWN “AGE” SPOTS AND EVEN SKIN CANCERS ON THE RIGHTSIDE OF THE BODY… EVEN WHEN WINDOWS ARE CLOSED
  • MORE THAN A QUARTER OF MOTORISTS (26%) ADMIT SUFFERING SUNBURN IN THE CAR WITH ALMOST ONE IN SEVEN (13%) ADMITTING TO ROLLING DOWN THE WINDOWS TO CATCH A TAN[1]
  • OVER HALF (53%) OF MOTORISTS ARE UNAWARE THAT THEIR SKIN CAN GET SUN DAMAGED WHILE INSIDE THE CAR - EVEN WITH THE WINDOWS CLOSED

Motor savings experts Confused.com and leading skin cancer charity Melanoma UK have teamed up to raise awareness of skin damage to the right side of the body while driving in the sunshine – even if you aren’t lucky enough to own a convertible!

The message to cover up could not be more critical this summer as new research reveals over a quarter (26%) of UK motorists have suffered from sunburn while on the road, with 13% saying they have deliberately rolled down the car window to catch a tan.1 One in seven (14%) drivers has even stuck their arm (or another body part) out of the car window in order to achieve a better tan, with almost a third (29%) of those sun worshippers having had an accident or near miss as a result. 

Worryingly, a whopping four in five (81%) UK drivers say they have never been concerned about skin damage whilst travelling in a car on a sunny day, whilst over half (53%) are entirely unaware that this can occur even when the car windows are closed. 

According to leading dermatologist Dr Christian Aldridge, a representative from Melanoma UK, glass – like clouds - does not protect you from UV radiation. These damaging sun rays can still pass through windows putting motorists at risk of asymmetrical sun damage as a result.  Glass effectively blocks UVB, and windshields are specially treated to block UVA as well, but a car’s side and rear windows allow UVA to penetrate[2].

For years, dermatologists have observed that patients in the US often have more sun damage on the left side of their faces than on the right, which can lead to wrinkles, leathering, sagging, brown age spots and even skin cancers[3]. One study showed the side of the body next to the window received up to six times the dose of UV radiation compared to the shaded side. [4]

While we aren’t as fortunate as our American cousins when it comes to our yearly supply of sunshine, British drivers do need to be aware of the dangers of sunburn when driving in the height of summer or during a heatwave. One in seven drivers (14%) don’t apply sun cream whether inside or outside of the car even if the weather is nice. 1

Therefore, Confused.com turned to Melanoma UK to test the skin of British drivers – comparing the right side of their face, shoulders and arms to the left which is shaded when driving.

Dr Christian Aldridge carried out an in-depth skin examination on individuals using UV photo technology to pick up on areas of sun damage not visible to the naked eye. Worryingly, results taken from a van driver from South Wales detected pre-cancerous cells on his right forearm - the arms most typically exposed to the sun - which was consequently treated.  The research also highlighted the protective benefits of sunscreen when driving. Amanda Stretton, a former racing driver and Motoring Editor at Confused.com who regularly uses cosmetics containing SPF had little to no sun damage in comparison when tested.

Melanoma UK facts:

  • In 2015, around 2,400 deaths due to melanoma
  • Over 14,500 new cases were diagnosed last year
  • Around 6 in 10 of all people who die of the disease are under 75 years old.
  • In the UK, death rates from melanoma in people aged 75 and over have more than quadrupled in the last 40 years
  • Melanoma is now the 5th most common cancer in the UK.  When the parliamentary task force on melanoma met for the first time in 2010, it was envisaged that we would reach this point by 2020 - here we are, four years ahead of time.
  • More than 6 in 10 non-melanoma skin cancer deaths are in men.
  • One bad burn in early years can lead to melanoma in later life.
  • FACTBOX (Source: Melanoma UK)

[1] One Poll carried out research of 2000 UK motorists with driving licenses between 07.07.16 and 11.07.16 on behalf of Confused.com

[2] The relatively long-wavelength UVA accounts for approximately 95 per cent of the UV radiation reaching the Earth's surface. It can penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and is responsible for the immediate tanning effect. Furthermore, it also contributes to skin ageing and wrinkling. For a long time it was thought that UVA could not cause any lasting damage. Recent studies strongly suggest that it may also enhance the development of skin cancers. Source http://www.who.int/uv/faq/whatisuv/en/index2.html

[3] http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/are-you-at-risk/sun-hazards-in-your-car

[4] Moehrle M, Soballa M, Korn M. UV exposure in cars. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed 2003;19:175-181.