Thursday, June 7, 2012

About face

Both of the photos above depict the same man - and not 20 years apart, as it appears. You may have seen Bill McElligott, who recently became the poster boy for the negative effects of sun exposure. The 69-year-old Chicago milkman looks 86 after spending 9 hours a day behind the wheel of his truck for 28 years, most of the time during prime sun hours and with the window open during warm weather. “My left arm was always more tan than my right,” said McElligot, but it was 15 years before he noticed any difference between the 2 sides of his face. But dermatologists were stunned when he finally consulted them. “It was very stark. We are used to seeing photo damage, photo aging every day, [but] for it to be so one sided? We were taken aback,” said Dr. Jennifer Gordon, a dermatology resident at Northwestern University, who submitted his case study to the New England Journal of Medicine. She and coauthor Joaquin C. Brieva, M.D., noted McElligott's potential for skin cancer and described, "The physical examination showed hyperkeratosis with accentuated ridging, multiple open comedones, and areas of nodular elastosis. Histopathological analysis showed an accumulation of elastolytic material in the dermis and the formation of milia within the vellus hair follicles." The result of the repeated, long-term exposure to the UVA rays of the sun - which can penetrate glass - is "unilateral dermatoheliosis" (see photo here, which I have manipulated for better comparison). McElligott now wears sunscreen and, thanks to plastic surgery, is taking the opportunity to have his face resurfaced. If the laser procedure does the trick, it should take 20 years off...
Some other faces in the Cabinet:

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