With many Americans hitting the road this summer for family vacations, it may not occur to many people to use sunscreen when in the car. But sunburns while driving or riding in the car are more common than you might think. And all that driving can lead to long-term sun damage.
Being inside a car does not automatically protect you from the sun’s rays. UVA rays can penetrate glass, and according to the National Skin Cancer Foundation, recent research has discovered that UVA contribute to and may even initiate the development of skin cancers.
Don’t think you are safe if it’s cloudy while driving either – those pesky UVA rays can penetrate clouds too!
When driving, always remember to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least an SPF 30, especially on you face and left arm, which will be most exposed in the driver’s seat. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen every two hours even in the car. Your passengers should also apply sunscreen, especially those in the front seat.
If you’re constantly driving a car or truck, there are accessories available specifically for protecting you from sun exposure. Protective films for your windows – both clear and tinted - can block out 99 percent of the sun’s UV rays. For drivers who like to keep their window rolled down and elbow resting on the sill, try using a protective sleeve for your arm. It is marketed as a golf accessory, but it is great for driving; it has a high SPF rating, and is easy to pull off if when you don’t need it. Wearing sunglasses is also a good idea to protect your eyes.
If you’re a truck driver, don’t forget about the time you spend outside with related duties, such as washing your rig or loading and unloading. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so if you’re spending any time outdoors during those hours, add a hat to protect your head and neck. When shade is available, take advantage of it.
The most important thing to remember is that protecting yourself from sun damage works best if it becomes an everyday habit.