Helping truckers beat sun damaged skin

Oct 30, 2020

There's a running joke about a trucker's tan lines. But what about the dangers of that sunlight? It may seem strange – there’s a thick pane of glass between yourself and the sun…not to mention nearly 93 million miles between the Earth and the sun. Regardless, our skin is sensitive to the UVA and UVB rays emitted from that giant ball of energy. While the windshield of a vehicle does lessen the amount of UVB rays that enter the cab, side windows do not offer such safety measures, and glass does not protect against UVA rays.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “UV rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes.” When you spend most of your day in the cab of a truck or outdoors loading and unloading freight, you’re exposed to much more than just 15 minutes of sun rays per day. Up to 80 percent of the sun’s rays can penetrate your skin.

So how do you protect yourself when you’re unable to avoid sunlight? Even in winter months, preventative measures go a long way in minimizing sun damage. Here are some important tips that may help lessen the impact of UV exposure on truck drivers.

  • Wear sunscreen every day. There are a few types of sunscreens. Some reflect sunlight, others scatter the light, and some absorb the UV rays before they reach your skin. Use protectants labeled broad spectrum or multi-spectrum. For more on types of sunscreen, check out the American Academy of Dermatology.
  • Keep skin covered from sunlight. Hats that shade your neck, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants will help protect drivers from the sun’s rays.
  • Invest in high-quality sunglasses. Glasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection from sun damage. Wrap-around sunglasses are ideal as they offer additional protection for your skin and eyes. Look for labels on sunglasses that identify they block both types of UV rays.
  • Drive with windows up in sunlight. When sunlight is pouring into your cab, roll up the windows to keep some of the rays at bay.
  • Avoid sunlight during peak hours. Between 10 am and 2 pm, the sun’s rays are the most intense. Keep that in mind when deciding to take breaks outdoors or drive with the windows down.
  • Get regular screenings for skin cancer. It can be tough to find time to visit a doctor. Luckily, the AAD has a list of resources, including free screening locations throughout the U.S. and tips on performing self-checks.

Staying out of the sun is difficult, especially for truck drivers. However, it’s extremely important to be cautious and avoid sun damage. Apply sunscreen regularly and take precautions to help lessen the impact of sun exposure.