If you ever wanted to see pictorial evidence of how the sun can damage your skin then here it is. This gentleman is 69 years old but one side of his face looks much older, due to the fact that he is a truck driver who spent 28 years driving, exposing the left hand side of his face to the sun for all this time.
This meant that the sun’s rays shone on the left side of his face through the window as he drove, leaving the right side unaffected. It clearly shows the damage the sun can have on an unprotected part of your body.
The unnamed man had his face studied by researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago who stated that he had a condition known as unilateral dermatoheliosis, or photoageing. This is known to be caused by the UVA rays in the sun, resulting in wrinkles and thickening of the skin.
We know that the sun has a damaging effect on the skin and can cause premature aging, skin cancer and a host of other changes. It is believed that exposure to ultraviolet light or UV rays accounts for around 90% of all skin aging and different kinds of UV rays produce worsening effects. UV rays are categorised into wavelengths:
- UVC – 100 to 290 nm
- UVB – 290 to 320 nm
- UVA – 320 to 400 nm
Most of the UVC radiation is absorbed by the ozone layer and does not affect the skin.
UVB typically affects the epidermis or the outer layer of skin, the epidermis, and is mostly responsible for sunburns. UVB does not penetrate glass.
UVA can penetrate deeper into the skin and is more damaging. It can also penetrate glass.
Damaging Effects of UVA and UVB
Although it is known that both UVA and UVB radiation causes skin to age, lowers immunity against infection, and cancer, it is not fully understood how this happens. It is believed that the possible formations of free radicals, collagen breakdown and inhibiting the immune system all play their part.
The unamed trucker would have suffered his skin damage even on a cloudy day due to the UVA rays which would have penetrated his vehicle’s window. It was thought that only UVB rays were responsible for skin damage but now scientists and studies have shown that the stronger UVA rays, as seen in tanning beds, are also a factor. The picture was published after one of the hottest weeks in May in the UK which saw millions of people flock to the beaches and strip off for the warmer weather. Let’s hope they had proper sun factor on.