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UV rays explained and how they affect your skin

UV rays explained and how they affect your skin

You can see sunlight and feel the sun's heat. However, you cannot see or feel ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

It’s a common misconception that sun damage only occurs in hot climates, as many people associate damage with the visible signs of sun exposure, i.e sunburn.

You may be surprised to learn that the sun’s UVA and UVB rays actually have different, yet equally harmful, effects on the skin. They also have the potential to cause damage in the winter, as well as in the summer.

What is UV radiation?

UV radiation comes directly from the sun. It can bounce off surfaces such as buildings, concrete, sand, water and snow. It can also pass through light cloud cover.

Up to 90% of UV rays pass through clouds, so even when it’s cloudy, you need to protect yourself against the sun’s radiation.

What is UVA?

UVA causes skin ageing and leads to the skin feeling dry, wrinkly, roughened and saggy. In high doses, UVA can also cause the skin to burn, DNA damage in the skin and skin cancer.

  • Can pass through window glass and penetrate deep into the layers of the skin
  • Contributes 90% of premature signs of ageing, including fine lines and wrinkles
  • May play an important role in the development of skin cancer and melanoma

UVA rays are known as the ‘ageing rays’ and are present during all daylight hours, regardless of the temperature. These rays can also penetrate glass and clouds; so don’t be fooled by cooler temperatures.

Cumulative exposure to UVA is known to assist in the development of skin cancer, as UVA rays penetrate the skin much more deeply than UVB. What’s more, UVA is a major factor in skin ageing and is also the dominant tanning ray, which is why it is used in tanning salons.

It’s been argued that exposure to UVA rays on sunbeds is actually worse than natural sunlight, and research has shown that first exposure to sunbeds in your youth actually increases your melanoma risk by 75%

What is UVB?

UVB tends to cause the skin to burn and also causes skin damage and skin cancer.

  • Penetrate the outer layer of skin, causing damage to skin cells
  • Are the primary cause of sunburn
  • May be directly linked to skin cancer

Scientists believe that UVB may even be more dangerous than UVA.

UVB is the burning ray. These rays do not penetrate as deep as UVA rays, however, they can cause severe damage to the skin’s epidermal layers. These rays do not significantly penetrate glass and their strength can vary depending on the time of day. However, they can reflect off surfaces such as snow and ice, which means they can still cause damage in the winter.

When using sunscreens, always make sure it is broad spectrum (UVA&UVB).

UVA and UVB rays explained

What about UVC rays?

Whilst UVC is the most dangerous form of UV rays, they are actually filtered completely out by the ozone layer so these rays never reach the Earth’s surface. UVC rays are also generated by electric welding equipment, so it is essential to be very well covered up and protected if you use such equipment.

What does UV Index mean?

It is a way of measuring the amount of UV radiation on the earth’s surface at solar noon on a particular day. In Australia, people need to use sun protective measures when the UV index is 3 or higher. In general, UV levels are higher in the northern States of Australia.

In the southern States, sun protection is recommended when the levels of UV are 3 or greater. If people suffer from skin conditions or have a low skin type, then protection should be used year round.

All SOLBARI products are rated UPF50+ and effectively protect your skin against all harmful UV rays.

View our UPF50+ range of: sun hats, women's sun protective clothing, men's sun protective clothing and accessories.

They will become an essential part of your wardrobe for your outdoor activities.

The SOLBARI Team.
This blog post is for information purpose only. Please seek professional medical advice if in doubt.



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