We usually don’t think much about sun protection in the car because the car itself seems like protection enough. But in fact, drivers are at huge risk of dangerous skin damage from the sun, as a frightening study of a US truck driver shows.
Before we dive into the study, it helps to understand why sun damage is so dangerous. Skin damage, which is any type of exposure to the sun that allows harmful UV rays to injury your skin cells (and in our Aussie sun, that can happen in as little as 7 minutes in some climates). This damage isn’t just a simple sunburn that clears up in a few days. Over time, it causes wrinkles and premature ageing, and an increased risk of skin cancers like melanoma.
The trucker study
A study conducted 10 years ago looked at the effect that driving a truck had on one man’s skin over 28 years. The original study appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, but CBS News gives an excellent summary.
The study includes photographs of Bill, a 69-year-old trucker who – on one side – looks to be in excellent health. But on the window-facing side of his face, the difference is startling. Deep wrinkles and loose skin have left his face asymmetrical, with a drooping eye and an appearance of being years older.
Source: CBS News
The name of this condition is unilateral dermatoheliosis, and it could be happening to you as you drive around throughout the day or make your commute to work.
Unilateral dermatoheliosis is the gradual thickening of the skin caused by the sun’s UVA rays. These rays can penetrate through clouds and window glass and are strongly linked to premature ageing and wrinkles. The skin’s top layers, the epidermis and the stratum corneum become thickened, while the elasticity of the skin is destroyed.
The same damage happens to your hands and arms in the car, which is called photoaging. Deepening wrinkles, loose skin and a much higher risk of skin cancer are the results.
That’s why we advocate for sun protection and sun protective gloves while driving, especially if your job or lifestyle requires long hours on the road.
The fastest solution is simple sun protection
If you’re not keen on ending up with the symptoms of unilateral dermatoheliosis or photoaging on your hands, there is some good news. Keeping you and your family safe in the car on long drives is easy and cost-effective.
First, cover your face and neck in a quality zinc-based sunscreen. Wear long-sleeved clothing, and – most importantly – protect your hands while you drive with sun protection gloves.
Our gloves are made from a lightweight patented Italian fabric that provides optimal comfort for just about any activity. They’ve been accredited as providing UPF50+ protection by ARPANSA, which means they block 98% of the UVA and UVB rays from hitting your hands. They’re also incredibly soft and gentle on the skin, and they even have a cooling effect, making them great for hot days.
The moisture-wicking fabric is super breathable, and you can easily pop them into a cold machine wash to dry quickly and re-wear. Made from 90% Meryl Microfibre and 10% Spandex, and designed entirely in Australia, our gloves are the easiest way to ensure your hands stay protected – whether you’re driving, playing sport, or just hanging out.
Our gloves are available in a range of sizes in grey, white, black and beige, so you can get a pair to match any outfit or occasion. They’re discreet and stylish, and the palmless design means you’ll still maintain a strong grip, whatever you’re up to.
Using sun protection gloves for driving
While there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules around using sun protection in the car, it’s a good idea to keep sunscreen and gloves in your glovebox (that’s literally what it’s for!). Just slip on the gloves as part of your routine for getting the car started.