The Damaging Effects of the Sun

The Damaging Effects of the Sun
October 11, 2012

The truck driver William McElligott is a reminder of the destructive power of the sun. At age 69, he delivered milk around Chicago for 28 years, the left side of his face regularly exposed to sunlight through the side window. The left-hand side is deeply lined, pitted and sagging. The right-hand side, shaded by the cab is the taut, unblemished face of an apparently much younger man.

The photo-aging (or dermatoheliosis) is caused by UVA rays from the sun : UVA rays can penetrate glass and deeply penetrate the skin beyond the epidermis (the top layer of the skin), where they destroy collagen and elastic fibers. They are also capable of altering DNA, which is why McElliogott is now regularly monitored to detect a possible skin cancer.