Health

UV Window Tint

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Protect your skin from sun damage while driving

I spent a lot of my early working years outside, all day, mostly in the south. I didn’t worry much about the sun damaging my skin, so long as I avoided a sunburn. Now, however, my dermatologist tells me that was a mistake. Though she really doesn’t have to tell me that, it’s pretty obvious. And we all know about sunscreen, though I bet most of us who should use that stuff don’t — unless we’re going to the beach or something. What’s surprising is that the left side of my face is more affected than the rest of me. Driving around in North America gets the left of our faces much more sun than we realize. She tells me that they see this a lot.

So I’ve gotten some new 20% window film for my side windows of my vehicle. It’s an old SUV with the whole rear of the thing equipped with smoked glass; the tint guy tells me that’s not UV rated, so besides just attenuating sunshine I can’t say how much UV is blocked, but all densities of the film are rated at blocking 99% of the UV spectrum; that’s what’s right next to me now. A little night time adjustment, NBD. My tint guy tells me that the cheap purple tint that bubbles up (we’ve all seen that stuff?) does not do anything significant to block UV, and that stuff blows anyway. Anything better should show the UV rating in the product datasheet.

There are some UV films for homes that are otherwise clear. Dunno how well they work on curved vehicle windows. The law here in Colorado says window film “must allow more than 27% of light through”. (Mirror-style-tint is against the law on vehicles as well as just wrong anyway.) Check your laws, of course. And winter sun is lower, getting UV into the vehicle better. Consider that too. I wish I had been aware of this face-frying effect 30 years ago, it might have saved me trouble now. Oh, and wear a dang hat and use sunscreen if your skin belongs a lot further north…

-- Wayne Ruffner 01/16/18