What are UV rays? UV rays are the rays propelled from the enormous sun towards our little planet Earth. These rays can help the body make vitamin D, which helps in tooth and bone development and helps the body build up an immunity towards certain diseases. Of course, there is a dark side to UV rays, if the body is not sufficiently protected these rays can aid in damaging the eyes, hair and skin.
There are three types of UV rays; each is defined by the power and length of the wave. All three types of UV rays are potentially dangerous to the body's skin and all can cause skin cancer.
- UVC Rays are the shortest and strongest wave. Presently, they do not penetrate the earth's ozone layer but if they did the tiniest exposure would result in sunburn.
- UVB Rays are known as the infamous tanning rays and are the strongest during the summer months when the earth is facing the sun. This ray penetrates the epidermis where no nerves or blood cells are present. This layer of skin produces melanocyte cells that play a vital role in the transformation of the body's skin color, otherwise known as a tan or aging spots.
- UVA Rays are sometimes known as the safe ray but this is not always true. These rays stay the same strength all year long and penetrate deeper than UVB rays. These rays are also those found in the sun bed. UVA rays penetrate through to the dermis resulting in a depletion of cellular antioxidants and initiates DNA damage. The dermis stops renewing itself around the age of 30 leaving the sun damage visible. This means the damage caused by the sun is more permanent and as the years roll on the dermis will become thinner allowing the epidermis to sag producing an aged look.
It is essential to make absolute sure that you are properly protected from the suns rays, wear sun glasses, a hat and sunscreen if long, loose and baggy clothing is not practical. Check out the UV index from your local weather provider to help determine what precautions you should take to stay protected.
Try to develop a long term outlook on healthy skin. A nice golden tan might produce a healthy glow today but try to think about what it will look like 20 years down the road.
By Worldwide Health Editor
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