What Is Truck Driver Sun Damage?

Finding a job where you have the freedom to pick your hours, travel, and not have a boss standing over your shoulder can be difficult. This is why many people find truck driving such a lucrative career. It pays well, has many openings, and offers freedom many other jobs do not.

However, there is one risk you should be aware of as a trucker: sun damage. But what exactly is it, and how can you prevent this?

Truck driving can be a rewarding career

A truck driver, potentially with truck driver sun damage, in a green truck with a sunspot on the mirror.
Truck driver | Getty Images

Truckers make great money, and even better, there are lots of companies currently hiring. The training isn’t over the top, and it doesn’t take years to become certified. 

You also have some serious job security, as truck drivers are a massive part of what drives the economy. On the off chance that you do get laid off, then it’s easy to quickly secure a new job, thanks to the trucker shortage. If you’re not crazy about the company you work for, you can find one you love.

Another great thing about driving a truck is the flexibility. It means long nights away from home and many hours on the road for many drivers. And that’s very appealing to some people who crave more freedom. 

If that’s not for you, it’s sometimes possible to find a job close to home which will enable you to leave early in the morning and be home by supper. There is one risk that needs to be addressed, however.

How can sun damage affect your skin?

According to the Truck Driver Academy, “When driving your truck for long hours every day, the right side of your face will most likely be protected from the sun. However, the left side of your face is almost constantly exposed to the sun. As a result, the left side of your face begins to age faster than the right side, with signs of thinning skin, wrinkles, and premature aging—which is what we refer to as ‘truck driver face.'”

This is caused by two different types of rays the sun emits. The first is UVA rays. Tanning beds often get slammed for this and for doing damage to the skin.

The other is UVB rays. These are what cause you to become sunburned after too much time outside.

In the proper dosage, a little sun can do a lot of good for your skin. Unfortunately, too much can age you quickly and cause cancer.

There are simple ways to prevent sun damage

There’s no way to hide from the sun unless you remain indoors for the rest of your life and never go near windows. That’s not an option for most of us, especially if you’re a trucker. Thankfully, you can take some straightforward steps to prevent sun damage.

The first is to wear sunscreen. Several types are explicitly made for the face.

The second is to wear clothing. Things like hoodies, hats, visors, neck gaiters, and sunglasses won’t prevent the full effects of the sun, but they can prevent a lot of it. Many brands are also now releasing clothing with a UPF 50+ rating, protecting your skin from UVA and UVB rays.

Finally, it’s recommended that you avoid driving between 10 AM and 2 PM. For many truckers, this isn’t an option. If you can’t, take advantage of your other options, like sunscreen.

Routine skin cancer screenings are also a good idea. Whether you’re new to trucking or have been doing it for years, this could be a way to help catch cancer early.

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