We’ve been being spoiled with some beautiful spring weather recently. After a long cold winter spent indoors, it feels great to get outside and feel the warm sun on your skin… or does it? The sun’s rays are extremely harmful in more ways than one. To celebrate Sun Awareness Week, we’ll go through the different types of UV rays that come from the sun and how each of them affects our skin.
UVA rays are the furthest reaching, most deeply penetrating of the UV rays. They account for up to 95 percent of the UV radiation reaching the Earth's surface. They are present with equal intensity during all daylight hours throughout the year, and can penetrate clouds and even glass! This is why it is important to use a moisturiser that contains SPF during the day- even if you only work in an office and don’t get much direct exposure to the sun.
It’s no secret that exposure to the sun causes aging of the skin and UVA rays are the main culprit. UVA is also the dominant tanning ray, and causes extensive damage to the skin over time. The widely sought after natural golden tan is unfortunately the result of injury to the skin's DNA; the skin darkens in an imperfect attempt to prevent further DNA damage. These imperfections, or mutations, can and often do lead to skin cancer. This is why it is best to achieve a beautiful bronzed complexion with self-tanner, rather than exposing your skin to sun damage.
UVB rays, the main cause of skin reddening and sunburn, tends to damage the skin's more superficial epidermal layers. They play a key role in the development of skin cancer and a contributory role in tanning and skin aging. The intensity of UVB rays vary by season, location, and time of day. However, UVB rays can burn and damage your skin year-round, especially at high altitudes and on reflective surfaces such as snow or ice, which bounce back up to 80 percent of the rays so that they hit the skin more than once. UVB rays do not significantly penetrate glass.
UVC is the most dangerous of the UV rays, but fortunately they have the shortest wavelength. These rays do not reach the earth’s surface as they are completely absorbed by the ozone layer.
How to protect yourself
Don’t forget to wear sunscreen at all times- not just on the hot days! Most day moisturisers will contain at least SPF15 but it’s good to check this out before you buy. One of our favourites is the Skinician Advanced Time Delay Day Cream which provides SPF15 protection and is also anti-ageing so it’s a win/win!
If you are going to be spending a lot of time outdoors, always seek shade from the sun between 10am and 4pm as this is when the sun is at it’s strongest. Wearing broad-brimmed hats and UV-blocking sunglasses will help shield the sensitive skin on your head, neck, and around the eyes. These areas usually sustain a lot of sun damage and are most susceptible to premature ageing.
Finally, top up your tan with our range of highly moisturising self tans. Not only does it protect your skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun, but its quicker, easier and is actually good for your skin too!