What Even Is UV? Your Guide to the Potentially Harmful Ray
| 3 min read
- UVA rays are the most common (they make up 95 percent of the UV radiation reaching the earth). They’ve been found to increase your risk of skin cancer and cause long-term skin damage, like wrinkles.
- UVB rays are largely filtered out through the atmosphere, but the some that do reach our skin are responsible for suntans and sunburns and can increase aging. Though these rays don’t penetrate the top layers of skin, exposure can promote the growth of skin cancer.
- UVC rays are the most dangerous type. Fortunately, these rays don’t get through our atmosphere and never reach the earth’s surface.
- Be extra cautious during peak times: Cover up to reduce skin exposure between 10am and 4pm, when UV rays are at the strongest. The more you cover your skin, the better protected it will be. Sun-safe clothing is made for reducing the amount of UV rays that get through to your skin, with a tighter weave in the fabric that blocks the sun’s rays.
- Watch the UV Index: The UV Index will give you a good idea of the strength of the UV rays in your area on any particular day. Several factors impact the strength of these rays, including the time of day, time of year, elevation and cloud cover. The scale goes from one to 11+, with a higher number meaning a greater risk. Use skin protection for anything on the scale three and higher.
- Follow sunscreen rules: Too much exposure to UVA and UVB rays can cause skin damage like sunburns and skin cancer. Make sure you are applying sunscreen before you step outside, be diligent about reapplying and always read the label to ensure proper use.
- Pack proper protection: In addition to skin damage, UV rays can cause eye damage, including macular degeneration, cataracts and snow blindness. So, when packing your sunscreen, make sure you also grab a pair of sunglasses that protect your eye area.