Rx: Sunscreen and hat
This story and picture made the rounds last week and I intended to comment then. However, the message is no less important now.
This is Bill McElligott, age 69. He’s been a truck driver all his life. And the left side of his face is evidence of his daily exposure to the sun through his truck’s side window. This is why everyone should be using sunscreen every day, no matter where you go or what you do. If you’re outdoors, use suncreen.
I learned the lesson from my dermatologist back in the ’80s when I asked if I had rosacea. I had, and still have, permanent redness over my cheekbones, nose, jaw line, and the left side of my neck. Not rosacea, he said. Sun damage. Not only was I to use sunscreen every day, but he urged me to get my car windows tinted as additional protection. I did. He also suggested I apply Retin-A every day to the red areas to help fade the redness, but I found it too irritating.
These days the redness is not as noticeable, but it’s still there. My daily moisturizer contains sunscreen (UVA and UVB) and I use additional sunscreen when necessary. I’ve yet to tint my new car’s windows, but I’m reminded every time the sun hits me through that side window. The back windows are tinted but the front ones look clear; I think they might have a UVA/UVB film without the dark coloring, but I’m not sure.
I no longer commute 30 minutes due south in the morning and due north in the evening, which constituted intense, direct exposure for 15 years, but I’m certainly more aware of the danger. I have a variety of hats and visors, and I keep one in the car for when I can’t avoid direct sun. I also keep a small bottle of sunscreen in the car.
These days there’s a lot more awareness of the dangers of sun exposure (“Tanning Mom” is obviously one who never got the word), more so here in the Mile High City. I just wish Bill McElligott and I had known 30 years ago what we know now.