Solar Radiation UVA/UVB/UVC

Radiation is a form of energy. Different types of bands are present in the radiation which defines the strength of the radiation. Solar radiation can be divided as Infrared, visible and ultraviolet radiation. Ultra-Violet (UV) radiation is further divided into UVA, UVB, and UVC rays.

UVA Rays – It stands for Ultraviolet A which is in the wavelength range 320 to 400 nm.- It causes the release of existing melanin from the melanocytes to combine with oxygen (oxidize) to create the actual tan color in the skin. It penetrates the skin more deeply as compared to the UVB, has long been known to play a major part in skin damaging & photo-aging.

UVB Rays – It stands for Ultraviolet B which is the chief cause of skin reddening and sunburn. It plays a key role in the development of skin cancer and a contributory role in tanning and photo aging also. Its intensity varies by season, location, and time of day. UVB rays are the common cause of most skin cancers.

UVC Rays – It stands for Ultraviolet C which is the most strongest and deadly of solar rays, however the ozone layer stops these harmful rays from reaching the earth surface.

Choosing the Right Sunscreen?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor which is a standardized measure of how effectively a sunscreen will protect your skin from harmful sun rays that can cause sunburn, damaged skin and also lead to skin cancer. So fundamentally, SPF is a measure that indicates how much extra time you can spend in the sun without getting burned.

For example if you would generally spend 10 mins in the sun before getting sun burned, a SPF 15 will increase that time 15X, so you can spend an extra (10X15) mins without getting burned.

The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) scale is not linear:

  • SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays
  • SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays
  • SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays

What is the Ultra Violet(UV) Index?

Basically Ultra Violet(UV) Index alert individuals about the level of solar radiations. There are so many factors on the basis of which the UV index for a specific region on a given day is calculated that includes the elevation of the area, cloud coverage for that day, the measure of ozone in the air over that area and skin’s sensitivity to UV radiation.

The Ultra Violet(UV) index scale normally runs from 0-12, with 0 being the least danger of Ultra Violet (UV) exposure (evening time) to 12, when the conditions for radiation are at their peak. Ratings of 12+ are generally only used in those areas where there is significant harm to the ozone layer.

The higher the number, the more in danger you are, and the more safety measures you should be taking.

Ways to Enjoy the Sun Safely!

The best way to enjoy the sun safely and protect your skin from sunburn is to use a combination of shade, clothing and sunscreen.