For almost 30 years, William (Bill) Edward McElligott drove a truck during prime sun hours throughout the city of Chicago delivering milk to stores and gas stations.
If you look at McElligott from the right, he looks like any 66-year-old would expect to, but from the left, wrinkles and sagging skin place him far beyond his years. He is a living demonstration of the importance of protecting your skin from the sun.
“It would take me an hour to drive to work and an hour to come home,” McElligott said. “It was a semi route, I’d have six to eight stops. … 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the road.”
Dr. Jennifer Gordon a dermatology resident at UT Southwestern saw McElligott while on a rotation at Northwestern in Chicago and submitted his case study, which was featured in the April edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.
“It was very stark,” Gordon said. “We are used to seeing photo damage, photo aging every day, (but) for it to be so one sided? We were taken aback.”
Gordon explained that since McElligott spent so much time in his car, his left side was exposed to UVA rays that can penetrate glass and cause the majority of photo-aging, unlike UVB rays, which cause sunburns.
“We think its because it (UVA) can penetrate more deeply into the skin than UVB and affect your collagen and elasticity,” she said. “When you destroy those that’s what gives you the aging appearance that we see.”
Besides suffering the effects of photoaging, Mr. McElligott is unfortunately now facing the burning light of media exposure. Hopefully, to remind us about the effects of spending long periods of time under direct sunlight, and to bring awareness about the unhealthy demands not only this, but many other jobs like the Mr. McElligott used to perform.
Excerpts from an article written by Serena Marshall, at ABC News. Read it HERE.