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According to Oasis Beauty NZ, one of New Zealand’s up and coming health and beauty companies, car drivers who do not apply sunscreen before getting behind the wheel are in danger of developing wrinkles, melanomas, pigment changes and other conditions associated with sun damage. They are at particular risk of right sided damage over summer when UV levels in this country skyrocket.
The warning comes as the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) reminded New Zealanders that UV radiation regularly reached extreme levels at this time of year.
‘People are generally very careful about slathering on the sun cream when they are at the beach but think nothing of driving for miles with the harsh New Zealand sun streaming in through the car windows,’ says Stephanie Kimpton, one of the founders of Oasis Beauty. ‘You are not protected when you are in your car. Even though most car windows will block sunburn-causing UVB rays, the glass will not protect you from UVA rays, which cause premature ageing and melanoma.’
‘All of the research shows that the rate of cancers directly correlates to the areas of the body most often exposed to UV radiation while driving,’ adds Stephanie. ‘Many of these tumours are cancers that develop over time and are linked to cumulative sun exposure rather than intense, intermittent sun exposure.’
Stephanie urges drivers, especially those on the road around 1.30pm when UV radiation levels are at their highest, to drive with the windows up and to wear a sun block of at least SPF30.
‘Pay particular attention to your right arm which is most exposed to the sun through the car’s side window,’ advises Stephanie. ‘It is also a good idea to keep a small, travel sized sunscreen on you at all times so that you can reapply every couple of hours. Just remember not to leave sunscreen in your glove box on a hot day as excessive heat can cause it to deteriorate and it will stop being as effective.’