UV rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation emitted by the sun. Although there are several types of UV radiation, of these only UVA and UVB rays affect the human body, UVC rays being blocked by the ozone layer. Read on to find out more about UV rays.
What are UV rays and how do they affect us?
Sunlight exposure is a good source of Vitamin D for our body, so it is good not to be neglected. But exposure to the sun for a long time without protecting your eyes can be extremely harmful.
UV radiation is of two types: UV-A (can injure the eye, affecting part of the retina) and UV-B (which are much more dangerous, leading to serious conditions such as cataracts).
Among the negative effects of UV rays on the human body are: premature aging of the skin, the skin loses its elasticity, wrinkles, skin cancer (especially prone to people working outdoors) and, last but not least, vision disorders.
Positive effects of UVA rays
UVA rays, in the recommended quantities, have a series of beneficial effects for our health. When we exceed the measure, however, problems can occur. Following exposure to UV rays, the body produces vitamin D, a vitamin that is essential for health. According to doctors, however, 5-15 minutes of occasional exposure of the skin to the sun, 3 times a week, in the summer months, are more than enough to keep vitamin D levels within healthy limits. Vitamin D also stimulates the production of serotonin, a hormone that makes us feel good, which means that UV rays can even fight the signs and symptoms of depression.
Another advantage of exposure to ultraviolet rays is that they have the ability to treat certain dermatological conditions including: psoriasis, eczema, vitiligo or atopic dermatitis. But it is about controlled exposure, not exaggerated.
Negative effects of UVA rays on the skin
Unfortunately, prolonged exposure to UVA rays can have unwanted effects. These are the ones that activate melanin, the pigment already present in the surface layer of the skin. It therefore creates a tan that is obtained quickly, but disappears just as quickly.
Moreover, UVA rays penetrate the deeper layers of the skin, affecting the connective tissues and also the blood vessels. As a result, the skin loses its elasticity and thus wrinkles appear. Therefore, UVA radiation is responsible for premature aging of the skin. Recent studies in the field suggest that excessive exposure to UVA radiation can promote skin cancer. It is not known exactly the mechanism by which ultraviolet radiation causes cancer, but a popular hypothesis holds that increased oxidative stress in cells may be responsible for this situation.
Methods of protection against ultraviolet radiation
– use products with sun protection factor. They act as a temporary barrier to UV radiation. We can use clothes made of SPF materials, creams, lotions and makeup products with a high sun protection factor. We can also wear hats and sunglasses with polarized lenses, but also umbrellas.
– the most suitable products for protecting the skin against UVB radiation are those with a wide spectrum. The sun protection factor blocks 93% of UVB radiation. A product with SPF 50 will give the skin up to 99% protection. The skin must be covered with a generous layer of cream in order to be protected. The layer of cream should generally be refreshed once every 2.3 hours
– sunglasses with sun protection factor – the lenses must block 99-100% of both UVA and UVB radiation. They must be of a single color and have no imperfections. It is preferable to choose gray or gray because they reduce the brightness, but do not distort the way the colors are perceived.