What 28 Years of Sun Does to Your Face [PHOTO]

K. Mathews on 22 Jun 2012 at 4:00pm

We're told time and again that daily sunscreen is the best way to prevent wrinkles, but have you ever wondered how much of a difference it really makes? Look no further than this 69-year-old man’s face. For 28 years, this truck driver spent most of his workday behind the wheel without sun protection.

sun damage
Photo credit: New England Journal of Medicine

UVA rays easily pass through windows, meaning that the left side of his face regularly received all the negative effects of sun exposure. It’s easy to see just how much more wrinkled and weathered his left side is, while the shade-protected right side looks 10 years younger.

The sun’s rays harm both the skin’s collagen and elastin, explains dermatologist Dr. Vince Afsahi to In Your Face. “The UV damaged skin is unable to heal itself adequately and is at risk for premature aging and skin cancers.” Dr. Afsahi adds that this truck driver is not an isolated case. “I see signs of ‘driver-side’ photoaging on a daily basis in my office. A patient’s left side is more likely to have sun damage, freckling, irregular texture, and malignancy.

While treatments like laser resurfacing can help improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin, but why not try to avoid the problem altogether with preemptive care? That means always wearing sunscreen when you go out, even if you’ll be spending the majority of the time in the car. After all, the only thing worse than having a sun-damaged face might be having half a sun-damaged face. 

For tips on sun protection, check out "7 Sunscreen Tips to Save Your Skin"

Is sunscreen part of your daily routine? Do you wish it had been?