A stark demonstration of the dangers of the sun

Here at the Mapperley Park Clinic, we have spent many years warning people of the dangers of the sun’s harmful rays.


But this latest story, published in The Guardian today, shows with frightening clarity just how dangerous prolonged exposure to UV can be, particularly if you are unaware that you are being exposed.

William McElligott - photo courtesy of the New England Journal of Medicine

William McElligott – photo courtesy of the New England Journal of Medicine


William McElligott is a truck driver from America. His career has been spent behind the wheel of his vehicle, delivering milk around Chicago. He did not notice the facial asymmetry for 15 years, but finally decided to seek medical attention when his grandchildren pointed out one day the ‘lumps and bumps’ on his face.

This photograph has since been published in the New England Journal of medicine as an example of the difference between skin that has been exposed to harmful UV rays for prolonged periods, and skin that hasn’t.

People who drive a lot are at a greatly increased risk of skin cancer, as the sun penetrates windows and windscreens. The skin would not necessarily burn, a symptom of sun damage which is familiar to all of us, but the most harmful UV rays responsible for photoageing work on a different level, causing latent sun damage to skin cells which becomes evident over the coming years.

Indeed, our lovely Plastic Surgeon Mr. Haseeb was quick to point out that he has seen very high numbers of skin cancers on the faces of people who drive for a living, even in this country.

So, the message is clear: sun damage is not a myth – it happens. If you want to help protect your skin from the visible signs of ageing, wear a factor 30 or higher every day, even if you think you’re not at risk.

If you’re not sure, talk to us about your options.