UK motorists risk sunburn and skin cancer on their right side while riding in the muggy heat.

And it does not matter if you've closed your car windows, experts have warned.

    Hanging your arm out the window can cause sunburn and skin cancer

Getty Images

Hanging your arm out the window can cause sunburn and skin cancer

Long-term sun exposure while driving can cause wrinkles, skin bleaching, brown age spots and even cancer.

And as Britain experiences one of the hottest summers in history, the risk for motorists is even higher.

Even if they are on the road for a short time, riders should protect themselves with sunscreen to combat harmful UV rays that penetrate through the windscreen and windows.

However, a study by found that more than a quarter of motorists put a sunburn in the car – and more than 10 percent said they fold down the windows to get a tan.

    Research revealed right side of the body is exposed to six times more UV in the car

Research revealed right side of the body is exposed to six times more UV in the car

More than half of the British are unaware of the damage that the sun can do to your skin, even when the car windows are rolled up.

Skin cancer charity Melanoma UK warned glass, like clouds, does not protect you from any UV radiation.

The harmful rays of the sun can still penetrate through windows, causing motorists the risk of sunburn and skin cancer – especially on the right side of the body.

Skin on the right side (driver's side) in cars receives up to six times the dose of UV radiation compared to the shaded side.

And while glass blocks UVB – the leading cause of redness and sunburn – it passes UVA.

UVA accounts for about 95 percent of the UV radiation that reaches the Earth's surface.

What is the difference between UVA and UVA?

UVA: These make up 95 percent of the rays that reach the Earth and are less intense than UVB.

They have the same intensity during the day and can pass through clouds and glass.

UVA rays penetrate the skin deeper than UVB and play a role in skin aging and wrinkling.

Recent studies have also shown that UVA damage causes skin cells called keratinocytes in the outer skin layer, where most skin cancers occur.

UVA contributes to this and may even trigger the development of skin cancer.

UVA also causes a skin tan, which can cause cumulative damage.

A tan is indeed the result of skin damage caused by the sun – the skin produces more of a pigment called melanin to protect itself.

Tanning cells emit mainly UVA.

UVB: This is the main cause of redness and sunburn and damages the outer layers of the skin.

UVB plays a key role in the development of skin cancer and contributes to tanning and photoaging.

The intensity of the UVB rays varies depending on the season, location and time of day (in their height in the summer and around noon).

On reflective surfaces such as snow or ice, the UVB rays bounce back and hit the skin twice.

In contrast to UVA, UVB rays do not penetrate significantly into glass.

It can penetrate the deeper layers of the skin and is responsible for the immediate tanning effect, contributing to skin aging and wrinkling.

For a long time, UVA rays were believed to cause no lasting damage, but recent studies suggest they can also promote the development of skin cancer.

Windshields have special protection to block UVA rays, but the side and rear windows still let them through.

The leading dermatologist Christian Aldridge performed a thorough skin exam on the right side of the driver's face, shoulders and arms, using UV photo-technologies to detect invisible sun damage with the naked eye.

The results, taken by a van driver in South Wales, revealed cancer cells on the right forearm – the most exposed arms of the sun – that were treated.

The research also highlighted the protective benefits of sunscreen while driving.



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