For years, the American public has been warned of the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays. As children, we may have run around sunscreen-less (the horror!), but now, one photo demonstrates what countless other scientific studies have failed to convey.
In the picture an unnamed truck driver is directly facing the camera, and one side of his face looks decades older than the other.
Care to guess which side? Yes, the side exposed to the truck’s window and therefore, the sun.
Check out the picture from the New England Journal of Medicine below, via Gizmodo:
The 69-year-old spent more than 25 years as a truck driver, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, and the Northwestern University doctor who studied him concluded: “The biggest take-home message from all of this is that you can get UV radiation through window glass even if you are just running an errand.”
The Journal continues to explain the science behind the picture:
A 69-year-old man presented with a 25-year history of gradual, asymptomatic thickening and wrinkling of the skin on the left side of his face. The physical examination showed hyperkeratosis with accentuated ridging, multiple open comedones, and areas of nodular elastosis. Histopathological analysis showed an accumulation of elastolytic material in the dermis and the formation of milia within the vellus hair follicles. Findings were consistent with the Favre–Racouchot syndrome of photodamaged skin, known as dermatoheliosis. The patient reported that he had driven a delivery truck for 28 years. Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays transmit through window glass, penetrating the epidermis and upper layers of dermis. Chronic UVA exposure can result in thickening of the epidermis and stratum corneum, as well as destruction of elastic fibers. This photoaging effect of UVA is contrasted with photocarcinogenesis. Although exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays is linked to a higher rate of photocarcinogenesis, UVA has also been shown to induce substantial DNA mutations and direct toxicity, leading to the formation of skin cancer. The use of sun protection and topical retinoids and periodic monitoring for skin cancer were recommended for the patient.
One thing is for certain– the man is a great reminder as to why investing in a bottle of sunscreen is probably a good idea, as the summer starts heating up.
(H/T: Business Insider)