Truck Driver Sun Damage and How to Prevent It
From a young age, you were likely told to always use sunscreen or some kind of other sun protection to help shield yourself from harmful UVA and UVB rays. However, people often associate this with only being necessary when outdoors and neglect the idea that utilizing sun protection is also important in enclosed environments – like when you will be around windows that let sun rays through. Due to the immense amount spent behind the wheel, this is especially true when it comes to truck drivers. Truck driver sun damage is a real danger, especially to the left side of the driver’s face, which is often referred to as “truck driver face.” However, any part of the body that is exposed to long periods of sunlight while driving can result in trucker sun damage.
What is Truck Driver Face?
When driving your truck for long hours every day, the right side of your face will most likely be protected from the sun. However, the left side of your face is almost constantly exposed to the sun. As a result, the left side of your face begins to age faster than the right side, with signs of thinning skin, wrinkles, and premature aging – which is what we refer to as “truck driver face.”
How to Prevent Truck Driver Skin Damage
Unfortunately, there is no way to completely eliminate face exposure to the sun when you are a truck driver. But there are ways to protect your skin and soften the effect that sun exposure can cause. You will want to shield yourself from UVA rays, which are often associated with tanning. You also want to protect yourself from UVB rays, which are the rays that cause “sunburns,” as well as wrinkles and all the other signs associated with aging. As a rule of thumb, too much exposure to either sun ray can result in skin damage. That said, here are some steps and actions you can take to help protect yourself as much as possible.
- Apply sunscreen daily and frequently –
At the bare minimum, be sure to apply sunscreen daily and reapply frequently to any part of your body that is exposed to the sun for long periods of time. You can choose whichever level of SPF you feel is best for your skin, but try not to shy away from high SPF levels just because of how it looks, feels, or smells. Regardless of the SPF level you go with, the key is to make sure it’s a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Broad-spectrum means that it will help block both UVA and UVB rays. If you have sensitive skin, many brands have a specific blend to accommodate this, so regardless of your personal skin type or sunscreen preferences, there are many options to choose from.
- Wear clothing that covers your skin –
Although you can, you don’t have to do anything fancy here. Simply wearing a long-sleeve shirt, a neck gaiter, and a hat or visor to help shade your face can go a long way. If you want to provide yourself with premium sun protection clothing, companies do sell UPF 50+ (UPF is similar to SPF but used for fabric) clothing items that are specifically made to help block UVA and UVB rays from penetrating your skin.
- Wear sunglasses –
Remember that sun exposure is also harmful to your eyes, and not just your skin. Be sure to wear a pair of high-quality sunglasses, preferably ones that block both UVA and UVB rays, whenever possible. They might be expensive, but you won’t regret investing to protect your eyes.
- Do your best to avoid sun exposure during peak hours –
Out of all of our tips, this might be the most difficult to implement, but limiting your time in the sun between 10 am and 2 pm will do wonders in preventing truck driver skin damage. These are the sun’s “peak hours” meaning its UV rays are the most intense between these hours. Although it may not be possible, avoid driving during this time by scheduling breaks out of the sun during this time. We know you can’t avoid driving during this time altogether, but reducing exposure by any amount of time will be beneficial.
- Be sure to have a skin cancer screening –
If you have already exposed yourself to years of prolonged sunlight, although the above can help protect you moving forward, the sun may have already caused lasting damage. That said, be sure to have routine skin cancer screenings to ensure you are in the clear. Although this isn’t something anyone ever wants to do, it is better to be safe than sorry. Furthermore, early detection is key when it comes to the rate of success when treating any type of skin condition. So the sooner an issue is detected, the sooner you can address the issue and prevent it from developing into a more serious issue.
Now that you know a little more about why the sun can be dangerous for your skin during long exposure and how to help prevent truck driver sun damage, be sure to implement the above as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you begin to develop “truck driver face.” Save yourself the trouble and act now. You will not regret taking the extra time to protect your face and skin from the elements.