UV Rays and The Human Skin!

In a series of my previous blogs, I have been focusing on various issues that are vital for women, and I attempt to simplify those topics and explain the related consequences, and ways in which we can protect ourselves, and our loved ones from the same.


In this blog, let's understand and analyze the hazards of the UV rays on the skin, and the ways we can protect ourselves from the same.

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What are UV Rays?

Ultraviolet Radiations or UV rays are electromagnetic radiations that have their natural source in the Sun, and the man-made source in the tanning beds and welding torches.

There is a huge variety of UV rays based on the amount of energy they have. UV rays with the higher forms of energy are ionizing radiation in nature. In simpler words, they have enough energy to remove an electron from an atom or a molecule. This process is called ionizing and can interfere with the DNA, which in turn can lead to cancer. However, even the highest energy forms of the UV rays do not have adequate power to penetrate deep into the body, thus its paramount effect can be seen on the skin.

Types of UV Rays

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UVA Rays

These have the lowest forms of energy, and cause the aging of skin cells, and indirectly damages the cells’ DNA. Unlimited exposure to these rays results in a long-term effect such as wrinkles.

UVB Rays

These have more energy than the UVA Rays and damages the DNA in the skin cells directly leading to skin cancer. These rays also are the main cause of sunburn.

UVC Rays

These rays have the highest amount of energy. However, they react with the ozone layer far from the planets’ atmosphere and do not reach the ground. The natural UVC rays do not affect humans, but the man-made emissions of these rays from arc welding torches, UV sanitizing bulbs, and mercury lamps affect us.

Exposure to Sun’s UV rays

The main source of UV rays is sunlight, though the total sunlight contains a very small portion of UV rays. Around 95% of the UV rays that come to the ground are UVA rays, and the remaining 5% is made up of UVB rays.

The factors affecting the strength of the UV rays touching the ground:

Time: Between 10 am to 4 pm

Annual Season: they are the strongest during the months of springs and summers, however, it is less of a factor around the equator.

Latitude: the farther you go from the equator, the lesser the UV ray’s exposure.

Altitude: Higher elevations mean more UV rays.

Clouds: UV rays can penetrate through clouds as well, so they reach the ground even on a cloudy day.

Reflections: these rays bounce from surfaces like water, pavement, sand, snow, and even grass.

In the next blog, let's have a look at the man-made sources of UV rays and their impact.

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