About Ultraviolet (UV) Rays*
Ultraviolet (UV) light is electromagnetic radiation present in sunlight and other sources
3 different types of UV rays
The longest wavelength
Reaches deep into the layers of skin causing aging, wrinkling, loose skin and sun spots
Sometimes can affect DNA, which increases risk of skin cancer
Has largest effect on top layer of skin
Causes redness, burning, skin cancer
The shortest wavelength
Absorbed by the atmospheric ozone and usually do not affect skin
UV Exposure - Benefits and Risks
UV exposure is not that bad. It helps to produce vitamin D that our bodies need and which is important for the immune system. The problem occurs when you you are exposed to too much sun.
Production of Vitamin D - Strengthen bones, muscles and the body’s immune system.
Mood Improvement - The creation of serotonin is promoted by vitamin D. Serotonin level changes affect mood and behavior.
Helps some skin conditions – With moderate phototherapy, successful treatment of eczema, dermatitis, rickets, atopic and localized scleroderma, jaundice, and psoriasis is possible.
Skin cancer – Research shows that as many as 90% of skin cancers are due to UV over exposure.
Sunburn - The long-term effects of sunburn include premature wrinkling and an increased risk of skin cancer, including melanoma (the most dangerous type of skin cancer.
Damaging the immune system – by having a suppressing effect on the immune system
Damaging the eyes – e.g. snow blindness (photokeratitis), cataracts and other diseases.
Aging the skin – wrinkles, brown "liver" spots, loss of elasticity by destroying collagen and connective tissue beneath the top layer of the skin.
UV Index Scale*
The UV Index scale used in the United States conforms with international guidelines for UVI reporting established by the World Health Organization
0 - 2: Low
No protection needed. You can safely stay outside using minimal sun protection.
3 - 7: Moderate to High
Protection needed. Seek shade during late morning through mid-afternoon. When outside, generously apply broad-spectrum SPF-15 or higher sunscreen on exposed skin, and wear protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
8+: Very High to Extreme
Extra protection needed. Be careful outside, especially during late morning through mid-afternoon. If your shadow is shorter than you, seek shade and wear protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses, and generously apply a minimum of SPF-15, broad-spectrum sunscreen on exposed skin.
The Shadow Rule
An easy way to tell how much UV exposure you are getting is to look for your shadow:
If your shadow is taller than you are (in the early morning and late afternoon), your UV exposure is likely to be lower.
If your shadow is shorter than you are (around midday), you are being exposed to higher levels of UV radiation. Seek shade and protect your skin and eyes.
A Guide to Skin Types
Depending on the tone of your skin, you may be more or less susceptible to burning and ultimately skin cancer.
Your skin type will determine what level of dosage and exposure you are able to handle.
What’s Your Type?
Skin Type 1
Gets sunburned/turns red easily and seldom/never gets a tan. Has light, sensitive skin and sometimes freckles.
Skin Type 2
Will almost always turn red and sometimes get a tan. Has fair skin and blond hair often.
Skin Type 3
Usually has an olive tone to skin. Will sometimes turn red, but will always tan after a while.
Skin Type 4
Has darker skin and usually darker hair. Almost never gets red skin or sunburns.
Skin Type 5
Has natural black / brown skin and usually dark brown eyes and black / brown hair. Almost never gets burned
Choose a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher, is water resistant, and provides broad-spectrum coverage, which means it protects you from UVA and UVB rays.
Apply sunscreen before going outdoors. It takes approximately 15 minutes for your skin to absorb the sunscreen and protect you.
Dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which blocks 97 percent of the sun's UVB rays.
A high-number SPFs last the same amount of time as a low-number SPFs.
A high-number SPF does not allow you to spend additional time outdoors without reapplication.
Sunscreens should be reapplied approximately every two hours when outdoors, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating, according to the directions on the bottle.