• Summer driving puts UK motorists at increased risk of skin damage on right side of the body
  • Test reveals how long term exposure to the sun while driving can lead to skin cancers on the right side of the body, even when windows are closed
  • Over half (53%) of motorists are unaware that their skin can get sun damaged while inside the car – even with the windows closed

Confused.com and skin cancer charity Melanoma UK are working together to raise awareness of skin damage to the right side of the body while driving in the sunshine, even with the windows closed.

According to research by Confused.com¹, over a quarter (26%) of motorists say have suffered from sunburn while on the road, with 13% saying they have deliberately rolled down the car window to catch a tan.

One in seven (14%) drivers admit they have stuck their arm (or another body part) out of the car window in order to achieve a better tan, with almost a third (29%) of those having had a collision or near miss as a result.

Four in five (81%) UK drivers say they have never been concerned about skin damage whilst travelling in a car on a sunny day, whilst over half (53%) are entirely unaware that this can occur even when the car windows are closed.

According to dermatologist Dr Christian Aldridge, a representative from Melanoma UK, glass – like clouds – does not protect you from UV radiation. These damaging sun rays can still pass through windows, putting motorists at risk of asymmetrical sun damage as a result. Glass effectively blocks UVB, and windshields are specially treated to block UVA as well, but a car’s side and rear windows allow UVA to penetrate².

Melanoma UK tested the skin of British drivers using UV photo technology – comparing the right side of their face, shoulders and arms to the left which is shaded when driving.

Results taken from a van driver from South Wales detected pre-cancerous cells on his right forearm – the arms most typically exposed to the sun – which was consequently treated.  The research also highlighted the protective benefits of sunscreen when driving.

Amanda Stretton, a former racing driver and Motoring Editor at Confused.com ,who regularly uses cosmetics containing SPF, had little to no sun damage in comparison when tested.

[1] One Poll carried out research of 2,000 UK motorists with driving licenses between 07.07.16 and 11.07.16 on behalf of Confused.com

[2] The relatively long-wavelength UVA accounts for approximately 95 per cent of the UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. It can penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and is responsible for the immediate tanning effect. Furthermore, it also contributes to skin ageing and wrinkling. For a long time it was thought that UVA could not cause any lasting damage. Recent studies strongly suggest that it may also enhance the development of skin cancers. Source http://www.who.int/uv/faq/whatisuv/en/index2.html