Is Driving Your Car Damaging Your Skin?

The everyday act of driving a car may be our biggest source of exposure to dangerous UV rays, and some new research suggests that the problem is worse than many people may think it is.

According to Harvard Health Watch, the average American spends more than 101 minutes a day in a car, which adds up to more than four years over a person’s lifetime. This means that they get a lot of exposure to dangerous UVA rays from the sun.

A study by researchers at the St. Louis University Medical School found that nearly 53% of skin cancers in the US occur on the left side of the body. This corresponds with how our bodies get more sunlight when we are driving.

In countries where drivers sit on the right side of the car (such as the UK and Japan), the trend reverses, with more people getting skin cancers on the right side of their bodies.

Eastman Chemical, which makes a UV-stopping window tint product called LLumar, says that the types of window tinting installed on vehicles at the factory don’t always filter out the most dangerous forms of UV light.

Of course, many new vehicles have tinting only on the rear windows – leaving the driver with very little protection against UV rays.

Dermatologists say that skin cancer is on the rise, and that people have to protect themselves from harmful UV rays whenever they are out in the sun.

And yet, how many of us consider ourselves to be “out in the sun” when driving our cars? Perhaps we should. It would therefore be a good idea to use sunscreen when driving, and to keep a bottle of it in the vehicle at all times.

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