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Study Indicates Driving Your Car Can Give You Wrinkles E-mail
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A SLUCare dermatologist sees more cases of actinic kerotoses on the left side of the face and forehead than on the right side. Why? The answer could be the time you spend in your car during your daily commute.

"AK lesions and wrinkles are due to the effect of sun and UV exposure over many years," Fosko says. "We tend to see more skin lesions on the left side of the face because that's the side that's exposed to the sun when you are driving."

But would that 15-minute commute twice a day really make a difference? It would, Fosko says.

"Even if you only have a short commute, that exposure has a cumulative effect that builds up over many years," says Fosko, a skin cancer specialist who performs surgeries to remove cancerous and precancerous lesions. "If you want to avoid skin cancer, and if you want to avoid premature wrinkling and aging of the skin, you should wear sunscreen every day."

For that reason Dr. Fosko recommends applying sunscreen every day -- whether it's summer or winter, sunny or cloudy. He particularly encourages people who drive convertibles or those who drive Jeeps to use sunscreen.

Wrinkles are caused by the photo-aging effects of UV exposure, Fosko says. He also cautions that not all sunblocks are equivalent. Most will block UVB rays, but not all will block UVA. Both blocking agents are needed to protect you from being exposed to the photo-aging effects of the sun.

"UVA rays, the ones that cause wrinkles, go right through the glass of your car window," Fosko says. "Look for a product that has broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. The physical blockers, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, will block both, as will various chemical blockers. Check the label to see that the product protects against both."

Fosko explains that when the skin gets tanned it's a sign of damage to your skin as it is trying to protect itself. If you are getting a tan, it's your skin reacting to the sun damage.

"Basically, wrinkles are not a reflection of age," he says. "They're a reflection of the amount of radiation damage. Some people who are 75 look like they're 35. When you get sun over many years you get the damage. The skin sags and loses elasticity. The great majority is from the sun."

Any final advice from Dr. Fosko? "Put on sunscreen every day for the rest of your life. And wear a seatbelt."

 
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