Remember the famous male trucker photo that shows premature aging by sun exposure on the trucker’s left side of his face (the side which encounters the most sun while driving)? If you haven’t here it is again. Now we should find a similar photo of airline pilots. A study published in the Journal of American Medical Association Dermatology finds that pilots flying at 30,000 feet for 56 minutes receive the same amount of UV-A radiation as if they were on a tanning bed for 20 minutes!
Fortunately the windshields of planes block UV-B radiation, but pilots need to protect themselves from the more harmful deeper penetrating UV-A radiation that causes premature aging of the skin. The study was commenced because of the higher incidents of skin cancer reported by pilots and cabin crew compared to the those who work normal 9 to 5 jobs in an office.
So if you work as a pilot for an airline, the Air Force, or even for a helicopter company, please always remember to apply the best rated broad spectrum sunscreen on your face. Reduce your chances of suffering from skin cancer!