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Healthy Tan? No Such Thing....

#Summer is in full swing and that means plenty of sunshine! Previously, I’ve discussed the dangers the heat can cause in the summer, but let’s go into more detail of what type of dangers lurk out there from the source of that heat, the Sun. The sun produces Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Ultraviolet A and B rays, (UVA, UVB), have been proven to contribute to the risk for skin cancer, especially melanoma, basal, and squamous cell carcinomas, which often appear on sun-exposed areas of the skin.

Protection against Ultraviolet radiation is paramount in preventing skin cancer. The damage from UV radiation is cumulative. Our bodies can repair damage from UV radiation over time, but not all of it. If continuously exposed, the damage builds up and could trigger skin cell mutations leading to tumors. The intensity of the UV rays, length of exposure time, and location, (year-round sun areas are worse), all contribute to our skin cancer risk.

UVA rays cause tanning and are slightly less intense than UVB, but penetrate our skin deeper. UVA rays maintain their level of strength throughout daytime hours year-round. Our skin tans to try and prevent the damage. UVA can cause premature aging and skin cancer and is the main type of light used in tanning beds. UVA can penetrate windows and cloud cover. Sunscreens labeled with “broad-spectrum protection” can protect you from UVA rays.

UVB damages the topmost layers of our skin and too much causes sunburn. UVB ray strength does fluctuate depending on the time of day and season. UVB rays are strongest late-morning to mid-afternoon from spring to fall time and even longer in warmer parts of the world. UVB rays can be filtered and DO NOT penetrate glass.

Over the next couple of posts, I will discuss sun damage prevention strategies and I’ll review the many sunscreen options available and what to look for when selecting the right one.


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