Suncare: UVA and UVB protection


Today is a gorgeous day in Northeast Pennsylvania. Temps are supposed to reach into the mid-60’s and I will finally be able to leave the house without a jacket. It is only 11 days until Spring and the ultraviolet rays from the sun are getting stronger. I know several people who have had a Melanoma and Melanoma Cancer. When caught early, it can be taken care of; however, I did have a favorite family member pass away when I was 6 years old from Melanoma Cancer. My aunt was only in her early 20’s when she died. So this is not something that can happen at an older age–but at any time in life.

So let’s talk about what we can do to protect our skin from the sun’s damaging rays.

First, what are UVA and UVB rays and where and how do they affect us?

UVA:

Can pass through window glass.
Is not affected by a change in altitude or weather.
Is present all day and every day of the year.
Penetrates deep into skin layers.
Is 5% of the sun’s rays.
Is 20 times more abundant than UVB rays.
Affects long-term skin damage.

UVB:
Cannot pass through window glass.
Causes sunburn.
Causes tanning.
Helps the body with normal vitamin D production.
Varies with the season.
It is more intense in the summer than in the winter.
Varies with weather conditions.
Is more intense at midday than in the morning or late afternoon.
Is more intense at high altitudes and near the equator.
Is protected against by the SPF in sunscreens.
Is related to more than 90% of non-melanoma skin cancer.

SPF (sunscreen protection factor) is your key to protecting your skin from UVA and UVB rays. The SPF # is what predicts how long your skin can be in the sun with a low risk of burning or damaging your skin. SPF 30 is best, while the higher SPF only provide minimally more protection. While water resistant sunscreens help maintain sunscreen on your skin through perspiring and water activity, it is only for a few hours and it is best to reapply sunscreen every two hours regardless. Should you get a sunburn, you will feel the effects within 2-6 hours of the burn. In more severe cases, sun poisoning can occur. I have had sun poisioning in the past, and it is not fun!

While we’re discussing using sunscreen in the spring and summer months, it is incredibly important to wear it year round. UVA and UVB rays are ever-present regardless of season. The intensity may vary, but you are still at risk for sun damage to your skin. Especially as you age, dark spots will begin to emerge showing sun damage from years ago. I can certainly see the age spots on my face, but it is even more disturbing when I have my skin looked at under UV light when getting a facial and see just how extensive the damage is.

Check out our post on 3 Sunscreens for Summer, that include our favorites to sun protection. How do you protect your skin from the sun year round?

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Posted on by Shannon Smyth in anti-aging, beauty, skin care 3 Comments

About the author

Shannon Smyth

Shannon began A Girl's Gotta Spa! beauty blog in 2005 to morph her love of beauty and in educating women on what truly works and what does not. She has been featured in Glamour, VOGUE Australia, Woman's World, Nail Pro, SHAPE and on WBRE's PA Live. She is a go-to source for social media consulting when it comes to beauty brands.

3 Responses to Suncare: UVA and UVB protection

  1. Jennifer C.

    I wonder if the SPF lotion would be ok to use on pets, since they can also get sunburned and skin cancer?

  2. Anna S.

    i used not to care and never wore spf til i was 25. now i am getting early wrinkles and i put on spf religiously.

  3. Vanessa Flores

    kiwi cooler mmm.. sounds great . I am like Anna I never used spf or any other uv protection till I was in my 20’s I just hope it is not to late.

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