Understanding the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays

Posted on 16 Dec, 2009

Ultraviolet rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation which has a shorter wavelength than visible light. UV rays are important for the ecosystem. They help your body to form Vitamin D and develop immunity to many diseases. In spite of their many benefits to the environment, animals and people, these rays can be extremely harmful for the skin.

Prolonged exposures to UV radiation can cause skin diseases and other ailments. The most common one is skin burns. The cells soak excessive UV rays thus causing burning sensations. If the sunburns are left untreated they can eventually become cancerous. The UV radiation can be classified as UVC, UVB, and UVA. They are categorised based on the wave lengths.

UVC radiation: These rays do not harm the skin. They are mostly absorbed by the ozone layer. They can be artificially created by using mercury or germicidal organics.

UVB radiation: These rays are usually in full power at noon time (the sun’s peak). They are the primary agents of sunburns. They only penetrate at the upper layer of the skin. These have potential to cause skin disorders and early aging of the skin.

UVA radiation: These rays, once thought to be least harmful, are the most damaging to the skin. They can be strong throughout the entire day. They are considered responsible for many cases of skin cancer.

UV radiation causes a breakdown of collagen. This simply means faster aging of your skin. The radiation affects the dermis layer causing it to wrinkle and squeeze before normal old age. UV radiation is also accused of producing free radicals. They are single electron molecules which get paired with skin cells thereby altering the skin type. You must take extra care of your skin while you are exposed to direct sunlight.