According to a study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 53% of skin cancers in the United States occur on the left side - aka the driver's side.
Skin cancers are mostly caused by UV radiation: ultraviolet (UV) A rays are long waves and ultraviolet B rays are short. Car windows are made of glass that blocks UVB rays, but allow 63% of UVA rays to pass through. UVB rays were once thought to be the bigger evil of the two, but studies have shown that long term exposure to UVA can play a role in melanoma in situ development. Invasive melanoma is the deadliest of skin cancers and causes approximately 8,500 deaths every year in the US alone.
A study at St. Louis University Medical School found an uneven gender distribution with left-sided skin cancers. It was found that 54% of skin cancers in men are found on the left side of the face and neck while there were no significant findings when it came to cancer location with women. Researchers hypothesize that over the years, women may spend more time in the passenger seat than men.
These findings are evident with long distance truck drivers. The New England Journal of Medicine published this photo of a 69-year-old man. He presented with gradual wrinkling and thickening of the skin on the left side of his face. The patient reported being a truck driver for 28 years. Chronic exposure to UV rays was a cause of his one-sided skin wrinkling and thickening.
These studies only emphasize how important it is to wear SPF protection every day, even if you are not spending any time outside. Driving exposes the skin the UVA rays and chronic exposure can lead to the formation of skin cancer.
Keep facial skin protected with our face sunscreens here. Remember to apply to the face, neck, arms, and hands - especially when driving!