How Sunburn Damages Your Skin

Don’t be fooled into thinking that not wearing sun protection is cool. Skin cancer is definitely not cool nor is having wrinkles by the time you hit forty. Sun protection is absolutely necessary for anybody. The majority of people now accept that while the sun is good for enhancing mood and important for many outdoor activities, too much sun can lead to very bad results. Stinging sunburn damage to skin or the headache of sunstroke will come immediately and go away quickly, but in the long run, you could end up wrinkling your skin or contracting skin cancer.

How UV Rays Damage Skin

Wear Sun Protection All Day

There is always new research coming out giving more emphasis on the importance of protecting the skin from the sun. Don’t forget to protect your skin when you go outside, particularly when between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. These are the hours when the sun is at its strongest and highest in the sky, and so has the greatest chance of causing sunburn damage to skin.

However, it is true that your skin can still suffer even if the sun is not out. Ultraviolet rays reflect off snow, water, sand and sometimes even cement and grass. Clouds allow ultraviolet rays through, and this is often the worst time, as it won’t even occur to you to wear sun protection.

What is UV Ray

Ultraviolet, or UV as it is commonly known, is one wavelength of energy given off by the sun, and is in fact vital to all life on earth. As life has evolved, so has its tolerance to UV, but it can still be harmful. The best protection we get from UV light is the ozone layer in the atmosphere, as it absorbs most of the UV before it ever hits us.

Perhaps the reason it is so harmful is that we have no means of detecting UV light, so it becomes hard to convince yourself and others to use protection for something you can’t even see. The UV light is split into three groups: UVA UVB and, UVC. The sun gives off all three, but the UVC rays cannot get through the ozone; hence, they are not a threat.

UVA rays, which have the longer wavelength, are the ones that go deep into your skin before they are fully absorbed and cause long-term harm to the skin. They are always present and at the same strength independent of the time or date. On the other hand, UVB rays have much shorter wavelengths and make the skin tan or burn. Their strength varies depending on the date, time and geographical location. UVB rays are the ones that are responsible for making Vitamin D.

Intensity of UV light is measured on the UV index from 0 to 11, with 11 as the most intense. This can be used to determine how much the sun will affect you at a particular time, and how much you should protect yourself. But don’t slack off just because the rating is low; the sun is always powerful so always cover up and use protection.