Everything you need to know about UV radiation and your skin

Updated: 4 days ago



UV rays are natural energy that’s produced by the sun. Sun rays are the strongest and pose the highest risk late-morning to mid-afternoon from spring to fall in temperature climates and even greater timespans in tropical climates. UV rays can’t be seen by the eyes, because they have shorter wave lengths than visible light. However UV rays do have an effect on the skin. These rays can also cause eye damage, including cataracts and eyelid cancer. UV rays can be divided into UVA, UVB and UVC rays.

UVA:

UVA accounts for up to 95 % of the UV radiation reaching earth. These rays also maintain the same level of intensity during daylight hours throughout the year. UVA is everywhere and penetrates the skin’s second layer. UVA rays play a major part in skin aging and wrinkling. These rays are proven to contribute to the development of skin cancer. UVA rays are also used in tanning beds. There is however no such thing as a safe tan.


Exposure to UVA rays causes genetic damage to cells on the innermost part of the top layer of skin, where most skin cancer occurs. Our skin actually develops a tan to prevent further damage in reaction to UVA exposure! UVA rays penetrate your skin more deeply than UVB rays. UVA penetrates windows and the clouds. UVA is connected to the “broad-spectrum protection” you see on the labels of sunscreen products.

UVB:

UVB has a shorter wave length than UVA. As UVB rays damage the outermost layers of the skin, overexposure can cause suntan, sun burning and in extreme cases blistering.

UVB rays can damage your skin 365 days of the year, especially at high altitudes or on reflective surfaces like snow or ice, yet they don’t penetrate glass. UVB is connected to the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) on labels of sunscreen products. 

UVA and UVB rays can also cause eye damage, including cataracts and eyelid cancer.

What’s the risk?

Melonoma is the most dangerous of the 3 most common types of skin cancer. UV exposure that leads to sunburn, has proven to play a strong role in developing melanoma. We have a gene that suppresses tumors. UV rays that damage skin can also damage these genes. As a result the risk of sun- damaged skin cells developing into skin cancer is increased.

UV radiation is also a proven cause of basal & squamous cell carcinoma. These types of carcinomas often appear on sun- exposed areas of the skin. When these common forms of skin cancer are discovered on time they are almost always curable

How to protect yourself?

You can still happily enjoy the outdoors and be safe at the same time by using broad-spectrum, hats, eyewear, sun visors, sun-safe clothing. UV window film for your home and car are also amongst the options to protect yourself against harmful UV rays.

Protect yourself, even when it’s cloudy. And avoid indoor tanning!

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