Stay Sun Safe on that Summertime Road Trip

Road trips provide us with the opportunity to feed our sense of adventure. Whether a trek takes you across the country or just across the county line, there are tips to follow to increase both the fun and safety of your trip. No one likes the idea of sitting on the side of the road with a flat tire, so a thorough safety check usually occurs before hitting the road. As aesthetic medicine specialists serving patients in the Houston area, we are also aware of the hazards the open road presents to the skin.

We typically think we need to pack up the sunscreen in our beach or pool bag. Rarely do we consider the value of sunscreen for car rides. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, we should.

Skin Cancer is Prevalent but Preventable

Statistics suggest that one if five people in our country will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime. The prevalence of skin cancer is alarming considering the fact that this common disease can be prevented with pretty simple steps.

Skin cancer is caused by exposure to ultraviolet light. Sunlight has short-wave UVB light as well as long-wave UVA light. Each of these types of light has been identified as a causative factor to skin cancer. For this reason, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that all people wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen, one that filters or reflects both types of ultraviolet radiation. This is a good place to start but, when we look at the dermatologic study mentioned, we see we could be doing more.

In the study on UV exposure in the car, researchers made some interesting discoveries.

  • Vehicle windshields are treated but do not block 100% of UV rays.
  • Side and rear windows block less than half of UV light from entering the vehicle.
  • The majority of skin cancers occur on the neck and head, with the next most common area being the arms.
  • More than half of skin cancers occur on the left side of the body.

Based on their findings, researchers concluded that we can benefit from sun-protective habits when driving. While UV filtering transparent film can be applied to the windshield and other vehicle windows, most people do not go to this extent to protect themselves. A convenient alternative is to remember that sunscreen needs to be worn at all times when outdoors, including in the car. The Skin Cancer Foundation advises that sunscreen should be applied every two hours for adequate protection.

Does your summer include a road trip? Stay safe out there and use sunscreen. After summer, visit ROGA in Houston for IPL treatment that offsets the effects of sun exposure.