I am sure we are all familiar with “trucker arm” or "trucker tan" and if not, you will most likely find it in these hot summer months that are bearing down rapidly upon us. With the sun shining in through our driver side window a great majority of the time and tinting laws being what they are in commercial vehicles, we have a great exposure to our left arms here in the U.S. (right side in some foreign countries) that causes a noticeably different shade of skin than the rest of our bodies. This distinct color variation can identify someone as a trucker from quite some distance, which I fall victim to every summer here in California as well. It was after a very hot past week that I decided to check into this issue and was surprised at what I actually found out.
There are actually worse things out there being caused by UV damage than a two-tone tan line. I uncovered an article on the CBS News website regarding a condition called unilateral dermatoheliosis. Check out the article and pictures at http://www.cbsnews.com/news/trucker-accumulates-skin-damage-on-left-side-of-his-face-after-28-years-on-the-road/. Due to exposure to the harmful effects of the sun for over 28 years as a trucker, the mans face had actually become damaged on only one side, the sun facing side where the sun’s rays would come through his driver-side window. The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology stated in an article published in 2010 that out of a given sample of melanoma cases, nearly ¾ of the cases were on the left side of the body.
Of course we don’t want the two-tone effect, but thinking of these much worse things warrants more action by those of us that drive for a living. I often see many truckers out there trying to reduce this exposure by covering their left arm with a towel or even an extra T-shirt. A few of my local driving friends actually have purchased “sleeves” that slide onto their arms to prevent this from happening. I admit that they are actually a pretty good idea and even offer a bit of fashion, as some are designed to look like full-sleeve tattoos! These methods should be used “in addition to” and not “instead of” the main prevention method, which is a good sunscreen! Being that we are exposed during these summer months to much more hours of daylight than during winter, remember to reapply throughout the day as well! Be proactive in protecting your skin because prevention is much easier than trying to reverse the effects.