Striking Evidence of Damaging Effects of Exposure to Sun


Veteran trucker’s face with unilateral dermatoheliosis 

William Edward McElligott was a trucker for 28 years, and you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to be able to tell. The damage from dermatoheliosis is very pronounced on the left side of his face, from exposure to the sun from his side window. On the right side of his face, he looks not much older than his actual age of 69, but the thickening, sagging and nodules on the other side looks like that of a much older person. 

His case was presented in the April 2012 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, and is a very convincing piece of evidence of the negative effects of exposure to the sun. This patient’s skin condition is consistent with the effects of Favre-Racouchot syndrome, a disorder caused by exposure of the skin to damaging sunlight. 

This kind of damage is typically caused by UVA rays, which are less intense than sunburn-causing UVB rays, but can be up to 50 times more prevalent. Such frequent and prolonged exposure to the sun can also cause DNA mutations that can lead to skin cancer.

This photo is a reminder of the importance of prevention and protection from excessive sun exposure, and the use of at least an SPF 30 sun block at all times is a must. Wearing protective clothing and hats are also important, as is the use of sunglasses to protect the eye and ocular area from photo-aging, especially during the peak sunlight hours of 10am to 4pm. 

CosMed, MD

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