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Two-faced photoaged
June 5, 2012 1:00 PM   Subscribe

Undoctored photograph of a Chicago milk-truck driver's face. What we're seeing is called photoaging.
posted by stbalbach (72 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Another typical one sided mefi post.
posted by srboisvert at 1:02 PM on June 5, 2012 [24 favorites]


That is the photo that finally convinced me to wear sunscreen.
posted by ourobouros at 1:12 PM on June 5, 2012 [9 favorites]


He could have solved the problem by driving in reverse some days?
posted by greenhornet at 1:14 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


As summer begins (at least in my hemisphere), it's like a PSA for putting lotion with SPF on it on your face every day, especially for my pale Irish-ancestried self.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:14 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


  1. I've heard of trucker's arm, but this is ridiculous.
  2. Perhaps they can set up an exchange program with left side drive countries.
  3. He should have turned the other cheek.
posted by zamboni at 1:17 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I saw this photograph a couple of days ago, but didn't notice until just now that his left eye is lower than his right. Is that also due to photoaging (how could it be)? At any rate, the photo sure makes an impression.
posted by postel's law at 1:17 PM on June 5, 2012


Yeah, sunscreen year round, even in Canada. Pity.
posted by maudlin at 1:18 PM on June 5, 2012


Remember the immortal words of Kurt Vonnegut & always wear sunscreen, buddy.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:19 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The problem with going to a left-driving country or driving in reverse is that then the right side (the younger-looking side) of his face would look just like the left.
posted by postel's law at 1:19 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


On a related-to-sunscreen note, something to think about

From the NEJM article:
Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays transmit through window glass, penetrating the epidermis and upper layers of dermis. Chronic UVA exposure can result in thickening of the epidermis and stratum corneum, as well as destruction of elastic fibers. This photoaging effect of UVA is contrasted with photocarcinogenesis

From the Wikipedia page on sunscreen...

Many sunscreens do not block UVA radiation, which does not cause sunburn but can increase the rate of melanoma, another kind of skin cancer, and photodermatitis, so people using sunscreens may be exposed to high UVA levels without realizing...

On further review this is pretty much covered in the abcnews link but still worth drawing attention to here.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:19 PM on June 5, 2012


I saw this photograph a couple of days ago, but didn't notice until just now that his left eye is lower than his right. Is that also due to photoaging (how could it be)?

My eyes are exactly like that. I'm guessing he's just a mutant like me. (I have the power of Glasses Never Fit Right, but somehow Xavier Academy never got back to me on that application.)
posted by theodolite at 1:20 PM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Remember the immortal words of Kurt Vonnegut & always wear sunscreen, buddy.

Mary Schmich.
posted by zamboni at 1:21 PM on June 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Since the beginning of time, man has yearned to destroy the sun...
posted by entropicamericana at 1:22 PM on June 5, 2012


Metafilter: I've heard of trucker's arm, but this is ridiculous.
posted by jimmythefish at 1:25 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


his left eye is lower than his right. Is that also due to photoaging (how could it be)?

UVA destroys collagen and elasticity, and without collagen, skin isn't attached to anything so it falls -- that's why the skin around his eye is drooping, pulling the top lid down and the lower lid of the eye down, making it appear as though the eye itself is drooping. It isn't -- it's just that its frame has shifted.

SUNSCREEN, YO!
posted by incessant at 1:28 PM on June 5, 2012


Remember the immortal words of Kurt Vonnegut & always wear sunscreen, buddy.

Mary Schmich.
posted by zamboni at 4:21 PM on June 5 [+] [!]


In Rainier Wolfcastle voice: "Dis iz da joke."
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:30 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also: the Environmental Working Group's sunscreen ratings are worth a look when you head to the store. Main takeaway -- good sunscreen is more expensive than you're used to paying, but it's important.
posted by incessant at 1:31 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


More examples: 1, 2
posted by brain_drain at 1:32 PM on June 5, 2012


When we first started dating, my wife put together an official list of things she likes. While I don't think she was planning for me to use this as a gift cheat sheet, it served that purpose well. One of the things on the list was "trucker's tans" and another was "watch tan lines."

We were in college and that summer she went off to be a counselor at a summer camp in Maine and I went back home, where I studiously put on a watch, stuck my arm up on the window, and drove around my home town for at least 30 minutes a day.

By the end of the summer, I had a pretty nice trucker's tan and a very noticeable watch tan line, but I'm not sure she ever noticed. I'm glad I didn't keep it up for more than one summer now.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:32 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


posted by Kitty Stardust Remember the immortal words of [Mary Schmich] & always wear sunscreen, buddy.

We should also remember the immortal words of Harvey Dent: "The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming, so wear sunscreen."
posted by mattdidthat at 1:40 PM on June 5, 2012


“Sun block is the answer, really, for someone 365 days a year, whether it’s cloudy whether it’s sunny, whether someone is outdoors, in the car, or at the beach,” Chasin said. “If someone wants to age as best they can, sun protection is a daily regimen no matter what you are doing. Put sun block on before you leave the house.”
posted by rebent at 1:41 PM on June 5, 2012


He could have solved the problem by driving in reverse some days?

Nope. If you drive in a right-hand traffic country like the US, the driver sits in the front-left seat and exposes his/her left cheek through the window. It may not be sunny every day, but whenever it is, it is only the left cheek that get the sunburn. Driving in reverse is not going to address this. The only way to even this out is to drive in a left-hand traffic country and thereby expose your right cheek.

A much easier solution is to wear sunscreen and protect your skin, especially if you are in a profession that requires you to drive a lot.
posted by vidur at 1:44 PM on June 5, 2012


It would be interesting to find out if he is/was a smoker.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:44 PM on June 5, 2012


Perhaps they can set up an exchange program with left side drive countries.

England gets about 1000 hours per year less sunlight than Chicago. In fact I haven't really had a tan in 7 years since moving here. So the exchange would be pretty uneven. You'd have to go to Australia and then the other side of your face would probably look like bacon.
posted by srboisvert at 1:48 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Driving in reverse is not going to address this.

Wow, can't believe Big Sunscreen got to you too.

Driving in reverse definitely works, just as speaking backwards works to reverse a sore throat, and turning the earth backwards allows Kryptonians to reverse the flow of time itself.

Of course, the easiest solution for driving is simply to trade the position of your hands on the wheel, with your arms crossed at the elbow; this reversal actually allows your skin to emit light at the sun, rather than visa-versa.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:53 PM on June 5, 2012 [12 favorites]


England gets about 1000 hours per year less sunlight than Chicago.

This statistic may be correct. But it feels like even less.
posted by tigrefacile at 1:54 PM on June 5, 2012


Of course, the easiest solution for driving is simply to trade the position of your hands on the wheel, with your arms crossed at the elbow

That's certainly one weird old tip.
posted by sysinfo at 2:02 PM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


The New England Journal of Medicine's web developers really need to rethink their 'More Images in Clinical Medicine' feature.
posted by schmod at 2:03 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


So way back in the day, the ideal was to have the whitest skin possible. Having brown skin meant that you worked in some menial/farm-style job, skin being exposed to the elements. To be pale and white was to have leisure time, servants/slaves, etc.

Today we have the opposite. To have a lovely brown tan is usually a sign of wealth. You can afford to take time off from work (assuming you work at all), travel to some sunny destination and sit on the beach and let your skin burn.

I imagine in the future it won't really matter. We'll most likely have interchangeable skin-suits. Bird feathers, snake-skin, metal exo-skeleton, etc. There are no limits to the things we'll be able to do to ourselves.

Our children's children's children will look back and laugh "Look at our stupid great-great-grand-parents. Fleshy skin, hipster glasses, skinny jeans. People were so weird back then."
posted by Fizz at 2:04 PM on June 5, 2012


>his left eye is lower than his right. Is that also due to photoaging (how could it be)?

The article mentions "thickening of the epidermis and stratum corneum, as well as destruction of elastic fibers" so not just the collagen/support destruction, but also thickening, which I would think means heavier skin in the area, both of which contribute to the tissue around the eye hanging down and the eye appearing lower.
posted by Listener at 2:04 PM on June 5, 2012


“Sun block is the answer, really, for someone 365 days a year, whether it’s cloudy whether it’s sunny, whether someone is outdoors, in the car, or at the beach,”

Fuck that. I'm pal enough that I make a point of covering up and avoiding too much sun, and I use sunblock. But all the time, 365 days a year? I'd rather have some more wrinkles. Cancer avoidance is one thing, but this is gerontophobic.
posted by anigbrowl at 2:12 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm pal enough

It took me like two minutes of trying to parse this typo for "pale enough", imagining some large man asking me "ARE YOU PAL ENOUGH TO THROW YOUR ARM AROUND ANOTHER DUDE?"

posted by Greg Nog at 2:15 PM on June 5, 2012 [12 favorites]


England gets about 1000 hours per year less sunlight than Chicago. In fact I haven't really had a tan in 7 years since moving here.
At the age of 25 or so I went on holiday to south Asia, having lived my whole life in dreary England. The sun made such heavy tan lines on my pale skin that, due to the dearth of sunlight once I got home, could still be seen six months later.
posted by Jehan at 2:21 PM on June 5, 2012


See this is why I avoid the sun and all its works. If I could get away with an umbrella in public I would.
posted by The Whelk at 2:23 PM on June 5, 2012


Granted I may have been the only art history student to look at a few Bronzinos and got" yes, that, skin like that, white as chalk and slightly shiny."
posted by The Whelk at 2:25 PM on June 5, 2012


UVA destroys collagen and elasticity.. wear sunscreen

..and eat jello
posted by stbalbach at 2:29 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd like to know if this guy had a pine tree air freshener hanging from his rear-view mirror.
posted by perhapses at 2:35 PM on June 5, 2012


A blond and freckled friend of mine went to SE Asia for a prolonged holiday 25 years ago. 3 months later, his doctor told him he has skin cancer. 6 months later he was dead, leaving a young wife and unborn child. I've never since walked out without sunscreen or let my children do so. Tan is ignorant.
I have spent many summers feeling uncool and being laughed at when I avoided the beach, but today, I have the extra bonus of having much younger skin than my peers. I still look kind of pasty, though...
posted by mumimor at 2:37 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Those of you saying his left eye just appears lower... I wonder if we're looking at the same photo. Draw a line from pupil to pupil and I think you will see his left eye is really actually lower than his right.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.
posted by ericost at 2:37 PM on June 5, 2012


I wonder if some people are just more susceptible to sun damage than others.

My stepdad has been driving trucks for almost 50 years, at least 6 days a week, in Australia, has never used sunscreen in his life, and his face isn't unevenly damaged like that.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 2:43 PM on June 5, 2012


Did anything mention if he was a smoker? Just curious, because it was reported that smoking weakens collagen, which gives skin some elasticity.
posted by Brian B. at 2:51 PM on June 5, 2012


UVA destroys collagen and elasticity

Mr. Jefferson didn't believe in collagen.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:53 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


One good thing about being a daywalker AKA redhead is that you learn early on to wear good sunscreen AND cover up AND not to stay out in the sun for long even if you have sunscreen and a cover-up and a hat on. Being pasty and untannable means you don't even bother trying to get some color, since the only color you can get is "lobster" and/or melanoma.
posted by biscotti at 2:55 PM on June 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


So, the dude's wrinkly and that's kinda unattractive, but does he have melanoma or any other cancers? How's his health otherwise?
posted by vespabelle at 2:56 PM on June 5, 2012


>I wonder if some people are just more susceptible to sun damage than others

Third link lists endogenous defense mechanisms, so people would have a lot of ways to vary, but who knows if that's statistically significant. (I'm guessing it would be.)
posted by Listener at 2:59 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hissssss, daywalker
posted by The Whelk at 2:59 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll be darned. I've been driving for work for about 14 years (though not *all* day like a delivery driver), and the left side of my face is just slightly more wrinkly than the right.
posted by gjc at 3:23 PM on June 5, 2012


Good sunscreen's expensive, yeah, but it lasts for freaking ever. I've gotten about 9 months worth of use out of the little tin of Keys Solar Rx that I bought late last summer.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 3:34 PM on June 5, 2012


Richard Dreyfuss, Call your office.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:37 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


See this is why I avoid the sun and all its works. If I could get away with an umbrella in public I would.

What's stopping you using one as a parasol. I use an umbrella that way occasionally, though I'm also willing to put up with the occasional sunburn. It's eccentric, but harmlessly so as long as you don't stick the corner's into people's eyes.
posted by anigbrowl at 3:51 PM on June 5, 2012


Cause between the bow tie and the red pants and sockless boat shoes and Mockingjay pin, adding a parasol onto that will just hit Peak Daft Quirks and the public will devour me, bones and all, without even speaking or hesitation until only a greasy spot remains.
posted by The Whelk at 4:09 PM on June 5, 2012 [10 favorites]


The umbrella was invented as a parasol, by the Ancient Egyptians. (They also nearly invented the ham, but failed to do so because they didn't dig on swine.) It was hundreds of years before anyone bothered to make one that could stand up to the wind and rain.

The latin root of umbrella is "umbra," which is in modern language the darkest part of a shadow, followed by the diminutive, so if the word umbrella has a meaning, it's "little shade" or "little shadow." (Also related: "sombrero!")
posted by Sunburnt at 5:00 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is why I've been driving motorcycles and convertibles for 30 years.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 5:26 PM on June 5, 2012


I have a skin condition which is mostly unnoticed, but makes me very highly susceptible to skin cancers. When I was six, a dermatologist set me up on his table, looked me right in the eye, and said, "Young lady, don't you ever, EVER try to tan. I'll end up having to cut off the tip of your nose in order to save your life."

It made quite the impression. I didn't even go to the tanner in high school, when it was a rite of passage, especially in the spring. I hide under sunblock daily, have a lovely collection of wrap around shades and wide brimmed hats, and even now in June when I'm outdoors for hours every day, I'm white as a ghost.

This same dermatologist wrote me a script for Retin A when I was a teenager, and I've been using it since. His thought the same mechanism that encouraged old cells to die off might act as a hedge against cancer, and that it couldn't hurt (as I was a committed sunblock user).

So I don't know if it's the sun protection, the Retin A, or both, but I'm 34 now and I get told all the time that I look very young. I always get carded buying booze, and the last time I went to the bar, I argued with the bouncer for twenty minutes because he thought I was using someone else's ID and I couldn't possibly be the listed age.

Even though it was a bummer at the time, I am truly glad I didn't tan as a teenager. The spectre of skin cancer will follow me until something puts me in my grave, but the flattery is nice in the meantime.
posted by Athene at 6:48 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


See this is why I avoid the sun and all its works.

People with rickets aren't exactly photogenic either.

But at lest they have left-right symmetry going for them. More or less.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:51 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are some truly glorious parasols out there. Were I made of money, I'd rock one of these all summer long.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 7:11 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I tried to wear sunscreen for a long time but it burns my face for hours after I put it on and makes me sweat rivers. Has anybody had this problem and solved it?
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 7:14 PM on June 5, 2012


Two or three cars: it's the chemical sunscreens - some people are sensitive to them. I think avobenzone is the worst, but depending on your tolerance you may want to skip all of them.

The alternative sunscreens go on white and are more annoying to apply but they shouldn't burn. Titanium dioxide and zinc dioxide are the main physical (as opposed to chemical) sunscreens, I think. You should give it a shot at least.
posted by Salamandrous at 7:46 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Um, the wear sunscreen 365 days a year advice is *really* bad unless you live somewhere that has summer all year long. Your body *needs* some UV light (to make vitamin D among other things as I recall). When you don't get enough of it, rather bad things happen, most famously SSeasonal Affective Disorder. Now, sure, if you are somewhere like Mexico, sure, you probably get lots and lots of UV all year long. If you are in Canada, even southern Ontario like me, then you probably shouldn't be wearing sunscreen in the winter unless you are spending lots of time outdoors on shiny snow.

Wearing sunscreen in the summer during prime sun hours (10-2 as I recall) is kinda a given though. Doubly so if you are on water. I know someone who got 2nd degree burns that way, which I didn't even know what possible from a sunburn, until he got back from the hospital and told us....
posted by Canageek at 9:01 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, thanks for the link palmcorder_yajna!

Some are a little pricey, but...eh. $300-$1000 isn't that bad for something like this - if it's well made it'll last quite some time. I wonder how UV-fade-resistant these are...

Thanks!


Also re sun exposure: Blue-spectrum can help with complexion in some cases, but sunlight truly isn't necessary. Vitamin D is, and they put it in inexpensive little white pills these days. I take eight a day like clockwork, as I'm very much of the daywalker persuasion.
posted by Neuffy at 9:22 PM on June 5, 2012


What Canageek said. In addition to the climate issue, people who have darker skin tend to have a harder time making vitamin D, and far greater susceptibility to osteomalacia, which is basically rickets for adults. That doesn't mean that us swarthy folks should forego sunblock entirely, but balance its use with occasional exposure to sunlight.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:12 PM on June 5, 2012


two or three cars, yes, that happens to me, too. California Baby works beautifully, though. It's mineral based.
posted by Athene at 10:32 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


two or three cars, you might give Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunblock a try. Trust me, I have the world's most sensitive skin (take a look at my AskMetafilter questions if you don't believe me) and can't even find a cleanser I can use on my face, but I can use that sunscreen without a problem.

I'm a big believer in sunscreen and use it religiously; I burn like crazy and my dermatologist told me I'd never get my rosacea under control if I didn't use sunscreen. My mother had Vitiligo years ago and lost much of the pigment in her skin, so she always used sunscreen and wore a hat. Now, in her 80s, she looks like she's in her 60s.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 10:42 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Driving in reverse definitely works

Correction: it works if you're driving in reverse on a treadmill. But you have to be careful not to have the treadmill running too fast or your van might take off and fly away.
posted by No-sword at 12:36 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't believe the Carter Family lied to us all those years!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:40 AM on June 6, 2012


California Baby works beautifully, though. It's mineral based.

So is the crappy generic store brand. It's called the "American Process" for zinc oxide production and it produces lower quality results.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:43 AM on June 6, 2012


OTOH: The use of sunscreen is known to prevent the direct DNA damage that causes sunburn and the two most common forms of skin cancer, basal-cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. However, if sunscreen penetrates into the skin, it promotes indirect DNA damage, which causes the most lethal form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma. This form of skin cancer is rare, but it causes 75% of all skin cancer-related deaths. Increased risk of malignant melanoma in sunscreen users has been the subject of many epidemiological studies.
posted by nTeleKy at 8:59 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


"It has been known that green tea and its components possess significant chemopreventive effects against chemical carcinogens and photo-caused skin tumor formation. In this study, the protective effects of (–)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a major green tea catechin, on the ultraviolet (UV)-induced skin damage (photoaging) were studied in guinea pigs, hairless mice and human dermal fibroblast cultures. [...] EGCG treatment reduced UVA-induced skin damage (roughness and sagginess) and protected from the decrease of dermal collagen in hairless mouse skin. EGCG treatment blocked the UV-induced increase of collagen secretion and collagenase mRNA level in fibroblast culture. The nuclear transcription factors NF-ĸB and AP-1 binding activities were also inhibited by EGCG treatment."

"It is proposed that an influx of zinc can protect epidermal cells against some of the more delayed effects of UV-induced damage."

I'd be interested in investigating some of the other things we could use in lotions and whatnot to help mitigate the damage caused by UV radiation. It seems like this would be a helpful adjunct to blocking UV outright. I've been vitamin D deficient for over a year now and I take supplements regularly for it; the best way to get it up and keep it there seems to be UV exposure...
posted by nTeleKy at 9:07 AM on June 6, 2012


There are some ideas on Mark's Daily Apple about avoiding sunburn without using sunscreen. (I have absolutely no idea if they're actually good science.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:56 AM on June 6, 2012


Holy crap, nTeleKy, that is news to me. I used sunscreen daily. I thought I was preventing skin cancer, not encouraging it. My sunscreen fulfils the recommended criteria listed but also says "fast absorbing" on the label. Now I'm a bit concerned.
posted by Listener at 2:50 PM on June 7, 2012


Listener, a lot of the carcinogenicity of sunscreen seems to be related to certain ingredients. You can use the EWG Sunscreen Database (which incessant linked above) to check your sunscreen for potential chemical hazards.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 5:23 PM on June 7, 2012


Thanks, p_y. Mine does have oxybenzone, but your ingredients link sure has a thicket of issues to look more deeply into. I wonder how it works for people who use it on frequently overexposed areas like this truckdriver's face, but let other areas get gently tanned, thereby getting the whole body benefits of sunshine. I guess we'll find out more in the coming years.
posted by Listener at 12:30 PM on June 8, 2012


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