Something You Do Every Day May Be Putting You at Risk for Skin Cancer

skin cancer on left arm

Americans spend more time than ever in their cars – for commuting and road trips. In fact, according to AAA, the average U.S. driver spends over an hour in the car each day. This often adds stress and costs drivers lots of gas money, but there’s another lesser-known issue that more driving time can cause as well. It involves your skin, sun exposure, and potentially increased instances of skin cancer.

Ashli Hutchison with Vitalogy Skincare noticed that her left arm is considerably darker than her right one. Hutchison spoke with Dr. Amara Sayed, a Board-Certified Dermatologist who helps patients at the San Marcos and Bastrop locations, about what she saw.

“I take precaution by applying sunscreen each day, but I have learned I could be doing so much more,” shares Hutchison.

She adds, “Dr. Sayed introduced to me to driving gloves. She mentioned she uses them every time she is in the car. They have UV protection and are easy to find.” Dr. Sayed also mentioned to Hutchison about a new oral sunscreen called Heliocare, which is a botanical-based supplement.

Hutchison isn’t alone. One medical study from 2011 in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology determined the following:

“Both melanoma and MCC (Merkel cell carcinoma) are significantly more likely to arise on the left than the right, and this effect was most prominent on the arm. Driver-side automobile ultraviolet exposure (approximately 5-fold stronger on the left than right arm) is a likely contributing factor. It may be prudent to remind individuals prone to skin cancer to take appropriate sun precautions when driving in an automobile.”

In addition to the driving gloves or sleeves, you can also add more UV tint blocking to your car windows.

A 2017 article by Julie Bain on the Skin Cancer Foundation’s website notes that this issue of increased UV exposure can also be common when traveling on trains and planes as well, though scientific research is tough to find proving this correlation.

There are lots of precautions you can take to protect your skin from sun exposure on a daily basis, like wearing sunscreen every day and avoiding the sun during peak hours of the day (mid-day and early afternoon).

If you have any areas of concern on your left arm (or anywhere on your body), it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment immediately to get it checked out by a Dermatologist.

Photo Credit: Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash