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Breaking Down UV Rays

The term UV has not been getting the best press, with many solely linking it to skin damage. UV (ultraviolet) radiation is one of the most reliable and best natural sources of Vitamin D. However, overexposure to UV radiation brings with it a multitude of risks and danger, which include:

  1. Skin cancer
  2. Sunburn
  3. UV-related eye damage
  4. Premature skin ageing
  5. Photosensitivity

Types of UV Radiation

UV radiation is divided into 3 main categories:

  • UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, ageing skin cells and potentially damaging their DNA. UVA rays are linked to long-term skin damage such as wrinkles and possibly even some forms of skin cancer.
  • UVB rays are the main cause of sunburns. They are also able to directly damage skin cells’ DNA. They are also widely regarded to be responsible for most forms of skin cancer.
  • UVC rays are blocked by the ozone layer and don’t normally reach the earth’s surface.

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Managing UV Exposure

It is nearly impossible and highly impractical to avoid all UV radiation as it is present most times and most places. There are several ways, however to ensure skin is protected from its harmful effects.

  • Sunscreens – Sunscreens are equipped with UV filters to help prevent the sun’s ultraviolet radiation from reaching the skin.
  • Clothing – Clothing is an effective way to defend and cover our skin from too much exposure to UV rays.
  • Shades/Sunglasses – Sunglasses protect the eyes from damage by UV rays.
  • Timing – UV rays are strongest between 10am and 4pm, so it is advisable to minimise sun exposure between those times.

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