Summer is the perfect time to get outside and top up your tan. Everyone feels so much better when they have that golden summer glow, don’t they? In our modern society, we are all very aware of the dangers that sunshine can present too. UV light is the harmful element of the sun. UV light is ultraviolet light which is divided into three types, UVA, UVB and UVC. We don’t need to worry about UVC as it never reaches the earth’s atmosphere, but both UVA and UVB can have damaging effects on both our skin and our health.
Of the two, UVA is more present in the sun’s rays than its partner UVB. It’s also found in artificial form on sunbeds that you find in tanning salons. UVA is a longwave ray and as such it is able to penetrate deeper into your skin. UVA penetrates the thickest layer of your skin, the Dermis, and this creates more damage. That suntan that you get if you spend your days lazing in the sun? That is caused by UVA.
UVB is less extensive than UVA, but that doesn’t mean that it is any less dangerous, it just works in a slightly different way. UVB is a short-wave ray which means it isn’t able to penetrate as deeply as UVA, so any damage it causes is to the superficial top layer of your skin. That sunburn that you get if you spend too much time exposed to the sun’s rays? That’s UVB.
People often wonder whether one UV light is more dangerous than the other, but in reality they are two different things and both cause problems for your skin. UVA light is the one that causes your skin to change colour when you tan. Its deeper penetration causes skin cells to produce more of a product called melanocytes, these in turn produce melanin which is what creates the brown pigment in your skin called a sun tan which is the skin’s way of trying to protect you from sunburn. The reason why some people are darker skinned than others is because they have more melanin in their skin. UVA light causes more permanent damage to your skin like wrinkles and premature aging because it penetrates deeper than UVB, it is also responsible for skin cancer.
UVB has a more superficial effect on the skin and although it only affects the top layer, the outcome is painful and equally as damaging and dangerous as UVA. UVB burns the top layer of your skin and research shows that significant sunburns will make you more susceptible to skin cancer in the long-term.
We all know that tanned skin makes us feel wonderful, we feel more glowing and vibrant when our skin looks good, but it is worth knowing the repercussions of that tan. Did you know that 90% of visible signs of aging are due to excessive exposure to sunshine? So whilst a tan might feel good now, are you prepared to undergo premature aging for the sake of a tan? More importantly and worryingly, exposure to both UVA and UVB rays will make you more susceptible to skin cancer. So whilst beautifully bronzed skin looks attractive, is it worth risking your life for?
Of course, it would be impossible to go about your everyday life without some exposure to the sun, but there are some preventative measures that you can put in place to reduce the risk:
Stay in the shade between the hours of 11am-3pm when the sun is at its strongest.
Always wear a hat.
If possible wear lightweight clothing that will cover your skin without making you feel too hot.
Always wear a good sunscreen even if it’s cloudy. For a natural, safe approach to sun care choose from our 2 in 1 Day Cream and Sun Cream: