UV Rays – what are they and how can we protect ourselves from them?

On average 1 in 5 people will develop skin cancer at some point in their lifetime, with UV exposure being the biggest cause of the disease. According to Cancer Research UK, just one case of severe sunburn every two years heavily increases your chances of getting melanoma skin cancer. 

The UV stands for Ultra Violet – basically, a ray that is invisible to the human eye. This is why sunburn does not show up straight away, as well as wrinkles which can develop over time.

Table of Contents

Did you know there are 3 main types of UV Rays?

Here is a quick overview:

UVA – these rays age skin cells and can damage the skin’s DNA. Basically UVA rays cause wrinkles and only a small role in some skin cancer incidences.

UVB – these rays will cause the most damage. UVB rays cause that dreaded sunburn and in turn, are responsible for causing the most skin cancer incidences reported.

UVC – these have the strongest energy by far over UVA/UVB rays however they cannot get through into our atmosphere – so they have very limited roles in skin cancer incidences.

Here are a few handy tips 

  • UV Rays are strongest between the hours of 12 pm and 3 pm. Re-applying sunscreen, seeking shade or layering up with clothing and wide-brimmed hats is a good idea if you are outside.

  • Summer (and now Spring) show higher UV Ray readings than Autumn and Winter…although higher altitudes show stronger UV Ray readings, so it’s likely that you will be exposed to higher UV Rays.

  • If you think you are safe from UV Rays because it’s cloudy or indoors – think again!  UV Rays filter through the clouds, home and car windows and are still able to infiltrate our skin and cause damage.

In our mind’s, we are going “if there’s no sunshine there are no UV Rays” and this is the biggest falsehood. This is why we should always be armed with our “sun prevention tools” e.g. sunscreen, long sleeve clothing, hats, etc., whenever possible.

Prevention & Awareness Saves Lives

If caught early while it’s still in the skin, skin cancer is usually curable, typically able to be treated with a simple surgery. However, once it has spread throughout the body, treatment becomes much more difficult. Practicing the proper sun safety and prevention methods can help prepare for if skin cancer does form in the first place or can help you detect it in the earlier stages.

What are the proper precautions?

Basic sun protection means:

  • Protective clothing. Did you know that many clothing material do not fully protect you from UVA and UVB rays? Make sure to wear UV protective clothing like wide-brimmed hats and covered shoes.

  • UV-Fashions provide a wide and deep range of UPF50+ UV protective clothing and swimwear together with other handy products that guard against harmful UV radiation. As our partners, they’ve given our customers a 15% discount If you’re reading this, you can head straight to their page to make sure you are prepared to protect yourself from the sun this summer. Enter the code “Skinvision” at checkout to access the 15% discount.

  • Staying out of the sun, especially during the middle part of the day when the sun is at its hottest.

  • Applying sunscreen at least every 2 hours, especially if you are sweating or swimming.

  • Apply sunscreen before you need it rather than when you are already out in the sun.

  • Take the time to document and keep track of moles you already have and report any new moles – especially if you notice changes such as itchiness, weeping, crustiness or changes in shape or size.

If we just remember a few basic rules – we can limit UV Ray overexposure but also get the amount of sunshine that our bodies require. Spending time in the sun is inevitable but with proper sun safety and prevention methods, we can make sure we’re fully equipped for skin cancer.

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