A Lesson About UV Radiation And How It Can Damage Your Skin
The sun is our primary natural source of UV radiation. However there are several artificial sources including tanning booths, black lights, curing lamps, halogen lights, fluorescent and incandescent sources, and some types of lasers. Unique hazards apply to the different sources depending on the wavelength range of the emitted UV radiation. The sun though is probably the greatest source of UV radiation for most of us.
UV light causes sunburns, which in turn can lead to skin cancer because of the damage done to the skin. Skin cancer is very slow to develop and can take up to twenty years. Therefore, it is important to protect your skin, starting with children and the use of sunscreen. The level of UV light now is higher than it was 50 years ago due to the reduction of ozone. The ozone is a screen like layer that is there to reduce the amount of UV light that people are exposed to.
UV radiation can be divided into three categories based on their wavelength. These are UVC, UVB, and UVA. UVC radiation is 100-290nm and is completely absorbed by the ozone layer therefore has no effect on our skin. UVB radiation is 290-320nm and can effect the outer layer of our skin, or the epidermis. This is what causes sunburns. UVA radiation is 320-400nm and studies are showing can be a huge contributor to skin damage. Some of the damage that is done by either the UVB or UVA is wrinkling of the skin, decreased immunity, aging skin problems, and of coarse cancer.
There are some positive uses in UV rays, such as rays are necessary for our bodies to produce vitamin D. Vitamin D helps to strengthen bones and helps our immunity. UV light can also be used for a skin disorder called psoriasis. In psoriasis, the skin shades cells prematurely, and dry scaley patches develop. Bees use UV light to find honey. UV rays can help in sterilizing medical equipment. All of this proves good, as long as we take care of ourselves and protect our skin and also our eyes, so not to produce the negative effects of these rays.
This was just some of the dangers of what UV radiation can do to us. A few positive points also, but remember, it's your skin. Here are some ways that you can reduce the amount of radiation on your skin is to minimize your exposure to sun. First, try to stay out of the summer sun especially during the hours of 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM. Use sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 to any area exposed to the sun. Even on cloudy days you must apply sunscreen. Then, reapply the sunscreen about every two hours and after any swimming or heavy perspiration. Hats should be worn to shade you face and neck. Try to avoid tanning beds or sunlamps.