Ultraviolet rays are responsible for a wide variety of effects on the skin. Acute responses to UVR are photo-damage, erythema, mutation, immunosuppression, synthesis of vitamin D and tanning. And chronic responses are photo-aging and photocarcinogenesis.
There are 3 types of ultraviolet (UV) rays, UVA, UVB, and UVC.
UVA rays are the ones that cause premature aging and photo-sensitivity. This UVR is not life threatening, but excessive time in the sun can lead to wrinkles, a leathery texture to your skin, hyperpigmentation (liver spots and aging spots) and sagging.
UVB rays are the rays that are out from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and are the ones most responsible for sunburn and skin cancer year round. At higher altitudes and reflective surfaces can increase UVB intensity.
UVC rays are the most damaging of the UV rays and are protected by the ozone layer and do not reach the earth’s surface.
Studies have shown that skin cancer is more prevalent in lighter skin individuals it does not discriminate on darker skin individuals. You should determine your skin type and what SPF you need.
There are 4 types of skin cancers.
Actinic Keratoses (AK) – Look like dry scaly patches.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) – Look like a flesh-colored, pearl-like bump or a pinkish patch of skin.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) – Looks like a red firm bump, scaly patch, or a sore that heals and then reopens.
Malignant melanoma (deadliest) – Looks like a mole or suddenly appears as a new dark spot on the skin.
- Reasons to wear sunscreen:
- Decreases your risk of getting skin cancer
- Protects your skin from sunburn
- It sets an example for children
- The ozone layer is depleting
- Keeps your skin tone even
- Keeps you looking young
Skincancer.org suggest applying sunscreen frequently, not going out into the sun with certain medications and many other interesting facts.