What The Sun Can Do To You — Even Through Glass

A truck driver featured in The New England Journal of Medicine

A truck driver featured in The New England Journal of Medicine ©2012. The NEJM asks that there be no resale of this image or use of the image by a commercial agency.

“Wow,” I said as it slowly dawned on me what I was seeing. This case appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine in April, but now that summer’s truly kicking in, this is the time to send it around to all the people you care about enough to remind them to wear sunscreen.

The man in the picture had been a delivery truck driver for 28 years, according to The New England Journal of Medicine case study. The journal calls his condition “unilateral dermatoheliosis,” which I would translate as “The sun has fried the side of his face that was next to the truck window.”

The explanation from doctors Jennifer R.S. Gordon and Joaquin C. Brieva of Northwestern University: “Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays transmit through window glass, penetrating the epidermis and upper layers of dermis. Chronic UVA exposure can result in thickening of the epidermis and stratum corneum, as well as destruction of elastic fibers.”

The prescription: “The use of sun protection and topical retinoids and periodic monitoring for skin cancer were recommended for the patient.”

(Hat-tip to Boston University School of Public Health and thegloss.com)

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.