UVA rays go deep into the dermis, the skin’s thickest layer. Unprotected exposure usually leads to premature skin aging and wrinkling, and vanquishing of the immune system. UVB rays normally burn the superficial layers of your skin thereby playing a crucial role in the development of skin cancer.
Most people are exposed to large amounts of UVA throughout their lifetime. UVA rays account for around 95% of the UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. Despite being less intense than UVB, UVA rays are 30 to 50 times more powerful. They are present with relatively same intensity during all daylight hours throughout the year and can pass through clouds and glass.
UVA that passes through the skin more deeply than UVB, has for long been known to play a significant role in the ageing of the skin and wrinkling. But until recently, scientists believed that it did not cause significant damage in areas of the epidermis where most skin cancers occur. Studies over the past 20 years, however, show that UVA destroys skin cells called keratinocytes found in the basal part of the epidermis, which is where most skin cancers occur. UVA contributes to and may even cause the forming of skin cancer.
UVA is the most powerful tanning ray, and we are now aware that tanning, whether outdoors or in a salon, causes increasing damage over time. A tan is brought about by injury to the skin’s DNA – the skin darkens in a flawed a try to stop further DNA damage. These imperfections, or mutations, can cause skin cancer.
Tanning booths primarily produce UVA. The high-pressure sunlamps used in tanning salons release quantities of UVA upto 12 times that of the sun. Interestingly, those who use tanning salons are two and a half times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma, and one and a half times more likely to acquire basal cell carcinoma. According to a recent research, the first exposure to tanning beds in youth increases melanoma risk by a whopping 75 percent.
UVB – the leading cause of skin reddening and sunburn, tends to damage the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers. It plays a major role in the occurrence of skin cancer and a contributory role in tanning and photoaging. Its intensity varies by location, season, and time of day. UVB rays can damage your skin continuously, especially at high altitudes and on shiny surfaces such as snow or ice, which bounce back around 80 percent of the rays so that they hit the skin twice. UVB rays do not considerably penetrate glass.
Protect yourself from UV radiation, when indoors and out. It is prudent to always find the shade when outdoors, more so between 10 AM and 4 PM. And since UVA penetrates glass, consider adding flat, tinted UV-protective film to your car’s side and rear windows as well as to house and business windows. This film blocks up to 99.9 percent of UV radiation and lets in up to 80 percent of visible light.
When outdoors, dress to reduce UV exposure: Special sun-protective clothes with ultraviolet protection factor show the quantity of UV radiation that can pass through the cloth; the higher the UPF, the better.
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