The Sun Made Simple

Summer is in full swing and everyone is talking about UV exposure and sunscreens. There is SO much information out there – but a lot of it is confusing, convoluted and simply so much jargon that it isn’t helpful!

Let us break it down for you

Ultraviolet (UV) Rays are emitted by the sun, and come in three lengths:

UV-A are the longest rays, and we are all exposed to lots of UVA throughout our lifetime because more UVA reaches the earth than the other types of rays. UVA can penetrate through clouds and through glass (unfortunately there are no regulations on protection in car windows and windshields, or glass windows in our homes and businesses) UVA plays a big part in making your skin appear older than it is (think brown spots, wrinkles) and has also been shown to contribute to the development of skin cancer. UVA are the rays that are emitted in a tanning booth, and the crazy thing is that the tanning booths or sunlamps that so many people have UVA emission several times higher than the amount of UVA given off from the sun. No matter where you are, during which season or what time of day – the amount of UVA you are exposed to is fairly constant.

UV-B are shorter waves and are chiefly responsible for burning your skin and damaging the top layer of your skin (called the epidermis). UVB exposure has long been known as a key player in the development of skin cancers and photoaging. UVB waves, unlike UVA, hit your skin the most during the “peak hours” of 10am and 2pm and are strongest from April to October in the United States. Altitude and reflections (boating, skiing) also increase the amount of UVB exposure.

UV-C are the shortest rays and they are actually so short that they are absorbed by the ozone layer and never actually reach the earth….or your skin!

All UV damage, over time, contributes to premature aging, wrinkles, sun spots and skin cancer. Stay tuned for more blog posts to break down the ins and outs of sun protection and what you really need to look for.

Thank you to Coola Suncare for this awesome graphic:


One thought on “The Sun Made Simple

  1. Pingback: Hot Topics from NYU Dermatology Conference | The Skin Sisters

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