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The Sun – Understanding UVA & UVB Rays

Is one kind of sun’s ray safer for the skin than the other? We know we need to apply sun protection of some kind every day, but what do you choose? The labels are often confusing. Here is some basic information that should help clear up a few misconceptions about UVA and UVB rays.

UVA rays can fool you. They don’t necessarily feel dangerous, often not even hot. UVA rays penetrate clouds and even glass. These rays are fairly consistent in intensity all day long. These are the rays that are known to penetrate into the deeper layers of your skin.

Although very recently considered harmless, UVA rays are now known to cause cumulative damage to deep skin tissue which can lead to skin cancers. In other words, we shouldn’t be concerned only with wrinkles and aging caused by UVA rays. There’s much more to be concerned with.

Because we often don’t see the results of exposure to UVA rays, such as a sunburn, these are the rays that can fool us. The damage is beneath the skin. Your DNA gets busy mutating in order to protect itself from the UVA rays if you don’t provide skin protection by applying an SPF lotion. This mutation sets the stage for cancer. Clouds and glass windows do not provide a block for UVA rays. Even if your skin doesn’t feel hot, these UVA rays are still present, doing damage to the deep tissue you can’t see.

The discussion about tanning booths often comes up about now. Tanning booths shoot UVA rays at your skin at 12 times the rate that the sun does. Can you protect yourself against that assault? If you’ve used a tanning booth since you were young, your risk of developing melanoma just jumped by 75 percent. The Skin Cancer Foundation studies have verified this information for years and have warned against tanning booth use. There is no such thing as tanning safely in a tanning booth.

UVB rays might be called the ‘sunburn’ rays because you see the damage caused on the surface of your skin. That redness and sunburn were just caused by the UVB rays. Long term damage to the skin’s top layer will result in premature aging, wrinkles, drying, as well as the development of skin cancer.

Unlike UVA rays which are pretty much constant all day, UVB rays are more intense at certain times of the day and year. However, don’t be fooled thinking you won’t be exposed at off-peak hours, or in the winter. The reflective power of snow, ice, and sand causes UVB rays to not only hit your skin on the way down from the sun, but back up again! That red nose and those rosy cheeks after a day of snow skiing may not be just from the cold. Remember, those peak hours don’t always apply either. If you ever spent time on a tropical beach, summer or winter, you know this guideline falls short.

A recommendation from your dermatologist or skin care professional will most likely be to use an SPF 15 product every day. Some may even suggest a higher SPF on your face and neck, even as high as SPF 70. We understand now that using SPF products is more than to protect our face from wrinkles; it’s to protect our health.

Visit your dermatologist or esthetician today to find out what your skin care regimen should include. Your skin care professional will advise you about the products you need to use to protect your skin. Depending on your history, this may include regular skin health check ups. Give your skin the protection it needs. It’s not just about a few wrinkles – it’s about your health!

Skin protection starts with professional skin care. Charlotte Field is a Skin Care Specialist in Pensacola, Florida offering Anti-aging Facials and so much more. Visit today to find out all about what Charlotte can do for you!