What exactly is UV radiation? There is a lot of confusion about it. And should you even think about it? In this blog, we give a brief and clear explanation and answer the most frequently asked questions:
- What is UV radiation?
- What is the difference between UVA, UVB and UVC?
- How large is the UV radiation in Germany?
- What is UV radiation from a sunbed?
- How can you best protect yourself from UV radiation?
- Who should be particularly careful with UV radiation?
1. What is UV radiation?
UV radiation stands for UltraViolett radiation and is the name for a certain wavelength range of light. It is the most energetic part of the optical radiation but it is not visible or otherwise perceptible to us humans. That is, contrary to our expectations, we cannot feel it in the form of heat, it can be just as strong at 31°C as at -5°C.
Based on its physical and biological properties, UV radiation is further subdivided into UVA radiation, UVB radiation and UVC radiation. This small illustration helps to visualize the whole thing:
Within the light spectrum UV radiation is so to say at the opposite end of infrared radiation. In the electromagnetic wave spectrum there are even shorter wavelengths, such as X-rays or radioactive gamma rays, but of course we want to deal here mainly with the radiation of the sun.
2. What is the difference between UVA, UVB and UVC?
UVA rays are the longest wavelength UV rays and can penetrate deep into the human skin. Unfortunately, their effect does not stay away: UVA rays make our skin age faster and get wrinkles. So you can remember "UVA – UV + aging"
UVA radiation penetrates not only skin but also glass, clouds and normal clothing. People, and especially children, who still have sensitive skin are not protected if they just wear a T-shirt outside. Most sunscreens protect against UVB rays, but not nearly as much against UVA rays. Since there is no immediate, visible change to the skin, we are often unaware of UVA rays and their dangers. At the same time, excessive UVA radiation can have dire consequences such as black skin cancer have. Therefore, it is better to wear UV-protective clothing, which shields both types of radiation!
UVB rays are shorter wavelengths than UVA rays, and mostly reach only the surface of the skin. However, they still do a lot of damage there: Sunburn and other types of skin cancer are often the consequences of too much UVB radiation. In addition, this type of UV radiation ensures that our skin red or brown discolors. Against this helps good sunscreen or also UV clothing.
UVC radiation is extremely aggressive and harmful to living organisms. Fortunately, it’s too short-wave to even penetrate the ozone layer and we don’t have to fear it.
3. What is UV radiation in Germany??
Should you Risk of sunburn If you want to know what the weather is like in your region, there are handy websites like Wetter Online . The UV Index is a simple measure of the strength of UV radiation from the sun. From 0-12, the index shows the risk of sunburn, where 0 stands for no danger and 12 for extremely high danger. Here in Germany it sometimes gets up to 8 or 9 in the summer, while in the fall and winter under very cloudy skies, 1 to 3 is more the rule.
4. What about the UV radiation of a tanning bed?
Anyone who lies down under a tanning bed will be in short time A big dose exposed to UV radiation.
tanning beds emit only a very small amount or no UVB rays besides UVA rays. This will not give you a sunburn, but the UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and cause skin aging and increase the Risk of skin diseases and skin cancer. So dermatologists generally advise very strongly against tanning beds. Who does not want to miss the pleasant feeling of a solarium visit, should rather try a light shower for therapeutic purposes.
5. How can you best protect yourself from UV radiation?
UV radiation is the Most preventable main cause for all forms of skin cancer. The best way to protect yourself from UV rays is to stay out of the bright sun and UV protective clothing to wear when going out in the sun. An ordinary dry white t-shirt only protects you with factor 5 to 15, while UV-Fashions UV protective clothing protects you with factor 50+. You can also partially give your own clothes a protection factor of 50+ by using a special UV detergent additive.
We also recommend that you wear a good pair of UV sunglasses and a good hat, cap or sun visor from reliable top brands like Dorfman Pacific or Rigon Headwear. In addition, you should use a reliable, effective sunscreen. Do you want to know what sunscreen and what factor you need? Read our blog with tips on sunscreen here.
Who should be particularly careful with UV radiation?
Children up to 16 years are particularly sensitive to UV radiation. Research has shown that children who experience frequent or severe sunburn at a young age have an increased risk of skin cancer later in life. It has also been found that skin cancer mainly affects people with a light skin type. Do you have a fair skin type and often go out in the sun?
- Then wear UV clothing
- Put on sunscreen regularly
- Check your skin regularly for noticeable and discolored spots and lumps
- consult your doctor in case of doubt
Other people who need to pay attention to UV radiation are chemotherapy patients, people with sun allergies or skin diseases, and people who take certain medications. Want to know more about UV protection? Read my blogpost on UV protection here.