Road trips up your skin cancer risk: According to a study at St Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri, facial skin cancers occur more often on the left side - the side that's next to the car window while you're driving. Windows protect against UVB rays, but they don't guard against UVA rays.
Any noticeable change to skin that is regularly exposed to the sun (such as scaly & red elevations or development of dark spots) should be evaluated by a dermatologic surgeon. The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery recommends sunscreen (SPF 30 or greater) to not only protect the skin, but to prevent worsening and recurrence of existing sun damage.
Also keep in mind, sun over-exposure is the major culprit of prematurely aged skin. Believe it or not, when it comes to revealing a person’s age, hands down, the back of the hands are more telling than the face and neck. Imagine all the sun that beats down on those puppies when you’re driving with your hands at 10 and 2!
The skin on the back of the hands is generally more susceptible to developing dark brown “age spots” when over-exposed to sunlight. Cosmetic procedures to lighten or remove these spots can be very costly & there’s no guarantee the spots will ever fade completely.
In this case, prevention truly is the best medicine, so don’t forget to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 or more to all exposed areas of skin (especially the backs of your hands) before hittin' the road!
Dr. Edward P. Miranda is a board certified plastic surgeon specializing in high risk surgeries and offers the full range of modern cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. After graduating from medical school at Cornell, Dr. Miranda did residency training in general surgery at the University Of California San Francisco and became board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Dr. Miranda is a native of New York City and now practices in San Francisco, California and serves clients from Northern California and beyond. He is also affiliated with California Pacific Medical Center and St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco, California.