Anyone who has ever doubted the ageing damage that the sun can do will likely be won over by this picture of Bill McElligot:
69 year old truck driver who didn’t war sunscreen for 30 years
Source: The New England Journal of Medicine
A truck driver for almost 30 years, McElligot admits that he didn’t wear sunscreen during his daily nine hours on the job, delivering milk in Chicago. He’s not alone in his neglect. Studies indicate that
- 71% of Australian men do not use sunscreen regularly
- 55% of Australian women do not use sunscreen regularly
- 83% of Australians do not get adequate sun protection (often due to a lack of understanding of the importance of broad spectrum sun protection)
The decision not to use sunscreen is never a good one, and in McElligot’s case the decision had grave consequences. He developed a condition called unilateral dermatoheliosis, a severe form of sun damage. The left side of McElligot’s skin looks healthy and relatively unlined for a 69-year-old.
The right side has been ravaged by the sun and has the tone and texture of skin at least 20 years older. It was only through aggressive treatment and intervention that he was able to avoid dangerous skin cancer.
Car Windows Provide No Protection against Damaging UV Rays
No one was more surprised by the extent of the skin damage than McElligot, who thought his face was protected by the window glass in his vehicle. It was only when his grandchildren began to comment on his
- Creased skin
- Bumpy skin
- Broken veins
…that he realised he needed to visit a dermatologist.
How to Protect Skin against Cancer-Causing Rays
When used regularly and applied properly, randomised studies have shown sunscreen is effective in reducing the incidence of melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
The study involved 900 young and middle-aged men and women. After four-and-a-half years, those who applied sunscreen on a daily basis showed
No detectable ageing of the skin
3 Celebrity Tips for Fashion-Forward Skin Protection When Driving
Broad-spectrum sunscreen is just one tool in your arsenal against skin damage and melanoma. Your closet provides a wealth of other options for looking pretty behind the wheel while protecting yourself against skin cancer.
Go Breakfast at Tiffany’s – You don’t want something as long (and dangerous) as Isadora Duncan wore, but a pretty chiffon scarf wrapped around you Audrey Hepburn-style is a chic way to protect your face and neck from the punishing rays of the sun.
Glove it Like Beckham – Trend-setter Victoria Beckham protects her hands in the car and out with stylish driving gloves.
Get Glassy-Eyed Like Bono – Rocker Bono wears dark glasses due to glaucoma. However, the wrap around style he favours is also a great way to protect delicate eye skin from the sun.
Skin Cancer and Outdoor Life in Australia
Australians love the outdoors in summer and winter, but not the elevated risk of skin cancer from sun exposure on our beautiful beaches and snowy ski slopes. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics:
- Men have a 1 in 14 risk of being diagnosed with melanoma before age 85.
- Women have a 1 in 23 risk of being diagnosed.
- 69% of Australians who die from melanoma are men.
We hope this article will help you avoid the negative impacts of the sun while still looking fabulous.