What Is UVA And UVB?

Haven’t we all felt a little naughty at times and not applied sun screen only because it wasn’t sunny. Recent statistics have also shown that 61% of women agree they should wear SPF daily, but only 29% actually apply it! I was in for a ‘sun scare’ when  research told me that I had to be protected from the UVA and the UVB rays of the sun to prevent dark spots,  accelerated aging, wrinkles, fine lines, lack luster skin and even the more serious skin cancer. It was time for me to dig a little deeper and get informed- after all, my skin health was at stake!


Omnipresent UVA rays: UVA rays are always present irrespective of the weather or the season. If you spend any time outside you are being touched by these UVA rays. Try telling a UVA ray that it shouldn’t impact you because it is cloudy! These rays can penetrate glass and clothing and impact the skin easily.  Earlier studies had revealed that UVA rays were not really that harmful to the skin. Hence these were the rays used during skin tanning. But further research revealed that using tanning beds before you hit 30 can actually increase your risk of skin cancer by almost 75% and also exacerbate premature aging.

Premature aging triggering UVA rays: Since UVA rays are able to penetrate the skins surface quite easily, they trigger the premature aging process by damaging the underlying skin cells. Prolonged exposure to UVA rays can give you leathery skin, dark spots and fine lines or wrinkles.

Unlike the milder feeling UVA rays, UVB rays are much bolder.

Harsh UVB rays: It is the UVB rays that are behind your week end sunburn. UVBs are stronger, bolder and harsher. The only good news is that these rays are not always intense and strong all year round.

Reflecting UVB rays: These rays are harsher and more dominant in the summers but are powerful enough to get reflected easily by snow or water. You are hit by UVBs when on your favorite ski/ beach holiday too. It is very important to give yourself UVB protection as these rays are the biggest contributors to skin cancer.

A high SPF broad spectrum sunscreen is your best friend to stand guard against sun damage. Also the harshest of the sun hours, between 12 to 4 PM, are best avoided.  Get sun safe and face the sun with a smile!

How do you stay sun safe? Write in and let us know.


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