You probably spend more time driving your car than you spend relaxing at the beach, but for which activity do you wear the most sun protection? Beyond sunglasses, we don't always think to use sun protection in the car. This blog post will explain why you need sun protection during your commute and which products you can use for the safest drive.
The risk of sun damage is 20 times greater on the driver’s side
If you haven’t already seen this facial portrait of a 69-year-old truck driver from the United States, you should take note. Having spent most of his life on the road, the sun damage on the left side of his face, the driver’s side, is stark compared to his right side.
According to a study conducted in 2016, windows on the driver’s side of the car don’t protect us from UV radiation as much as we’d hope. A car’s windshield blocks roughly 96% of the UV radiation while you’re driving, whereas the car’s side windows block only around 71% of damaging rays.
Lead researcher and ophthalmologist Dr Wachler notes that, “in Australia, where people drive on the left side of the road, it’s just the opposite — there is more skin cancer on the right side of the face.”
The effects of this sun damage manifest in a several ways. On the surface, it can cause skin to age prematurely through wrinkles, skin leathering, sagging, and brown sunspots. On a deeper level, it can lead to skin cancer and melanoma.
Driving is not an activity that we typically associate with heightened sun exposure, like a day at the beach or an afternoon of golf. However, considering how much time we spend behind the wheel, in rain or shine, it’s important to ensure this time is spent adequately protected against harmful UV rays.
How to protect yourself while driving
Solbari maintains a 360 approach to sun protection, having carefully designed and rigorously tested all its products to ensure the maximum amount of protection, UPF50+, is available to everyone at all times. Solbari has developed a number of products with driver protection in mind, such as driving gloves, arm sleeves, sunscreen and sunglasses.
Our hands are one of the first places on our body where sun exposure becomes apparent, yet they are often neglected when it comes to protection. Solbari’s UPF50+ Driving Gloves feature a 7cm / 2.8-inch cuff to ensure both wrists and hands are optimally covered. They also benefit from silicon grip on the base of the palm to ensure a strong and reliable grip when holding the steering wheel.
Although it can feel counterintuitive to cover up in order to stay cool on a hot and sunny day, Solbari’s UPF50+ clothing has been specifically designed to regulate body temperature through its fabric content and weave, breathability, and moisture-wicking properties. Solbari offers sun protective arm sleeves in our UPF 50+ Sensitive fabric that provide coverage from your bicep to your wrist. Keep a pair in the car and slide them on as needed. You also have the option of sleeves with, or without, thumbholes.
While UPF50+ clothing offers consistent and reliable sun protection, chances are it won’t always be covering every inch of your body. This is where sunscreen comes in, to ensure that even uncovered skin is protected from harmful UV radiation. Solbari has developed broad spectrum SPF50+ sunscreens, such as our Dry Touch and Moisturizing sunscreens, that ensure we maintain a 360 approach to sun protection.
UV radiation can also cause damage to our eyes, which increase our risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration. Solbari has developed anti-reflective sunglasses that block UVA and UVB radiation. Available in our various designs, these sunglasses ensure optimum visibility on the road, as well as helping you avoid eye strain and squinting.
Primary source: Assessment of Levels of Ultraviolet A Light Protection in Automobile Windshields and Side Windows by Brian S. Boxer Wachler, MD (2016)