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UV Rays: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

We often hear that UV radiation is the culprit behind both suntans and sunburns. But did you know that there are actually three different types of UV radiation, and they all have different effects on your skin?

The types of UV are differentiated according to their wavelength. UVA rays have the longest wavelengths—only slightly shorter than those of visible light. UVB rays, on the other hand, have medium wavelengths and UVC rays have extremely short wavelengths. UVC rays are actually the most damaging type of UV radiation but you almost never hear about them because the vast majority of UVC radiation is absorbed by our ozone layer.   

The ozone layer also takes care of most UVB radiation. However, the UVB rays that slip through are the ones responsible for burning your skin and instigating skin cancer. The good news is that they don’t have much to do with skin aging and can’t travel through clouds or glass.

UVA rays make up as much as 95% of the UV radiation that actually gets to Earth. They penetrate deep into our skin and give us our fantastic, Barton Springs summer tans. However, they’re also the ones we can blame for skin aging. Moreover, new research has shown that the damage caused by UVA rays can eventually lead to skin cancer.

The easiest way to avoid most skin damage is by applying sunscreen before going outside. While some might find a light tan attractive, you won’t be so happy with the signs of aging or skin cancers. Use good suncare now to prevent the damage that will show up later.

If you’d like to learn more about how to protect your skin, contact Zimmet Vein & Dermatology today.

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