Many of us see the ultraviolet (UV) index on weather reports and read about UV alerts at particular times of the day. But do you know what it actually means and how it affects you?
There are two main types of UV rays and both cause damage to skin cells. Ultraviolet light is a form of radiation invisible to the human eye. Ultraviolet wavelengths of sunlight are made up of UVB, which has shorter wavelengths and higher energy, and UVA, which has longer wavelengths and lower energy.
Both UVA and UVB cause damage to skin cells and contribute to skin cancer, melanoma, premature skin ageing, wrinkles and sun spots.
UVB is predominantly responsible for sunburn and UVA contributes to ageing as it penetrates deeper into the skin layers due to its longer wavelengths.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends protecting the skin from the sun when the Ultraviolet Radiation Index (UVI) is 3 or higher. According to the WHO, "the UVI is a measure of the level of UV radiation. The values of the index range from zero upward. The higher the UVI, the grater the potential damage to the skin and eye and the less time it takes to occur."
Our Founder Johanna Young (right) had the pleasure to meet and discuss this subject with Dr Emilie Van Deventer (left), who is the leading expert at the WHO of the Radiation Programme. Dr Van Deventer says "Only recently has tanning become a fashion requiring preventive messages to explain the obvious, that it is dangerous to burn your skin and that sun protection is paramount."
The "index" part of the UVI refers to a table which was created over 20 years ago. This table was to be used in European countries and across North America.
Below is a summary of the UVI chart provided by the WHO.
For non-science enthusiasts, the most important thing to remember is that both the UVA and the UVB are harmful and can contribute to skin cancer, melanoma, premature skin ageing, wrinkles and sun spots.
It is also important to remember that even on cloudy days, the UV levels can be extreme. Research shows that up to 80% of UV radiation penetrates clouds.
Failure to use UPF50+ sun protective clothing, a sun hat and SPF50+ sunscreen will increase exposure to harmful UV rays.
At SOLBARI, we encourage all individuals to lead a healthy outdoors lifestyle, but remind them that it is essential to protect your skin and check it regularly.
Thanks for reading!
The SOLBARI Team
This Blog is for information purpose only.
Getting to know your skin is probably the single most important thing you can do to help detect skin cancer symptoms. Check your moles regularly and keep a record of things popping up or growing on your skin.
If you notice any signs consistent with the list highlighted below that concern you or persist for two weeks, visit your doctor. There's a good chance that it's nothing - but why put it off? Early detection saves lives.
Modern sun protective clothing is produced from fabrics which are rated for their level of ultraviolet (UV) protection. This gives the fabrics their ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating.
A UPF is the rating used for Fabrics, whereas a SPF is the rating used for Sunscreen.
A rating of UPF50+ is the highest rating achievable on the market and blocks more than 98% of UV rays. All Solbari products are tested and rated UPF50+ in Australia.
Regular clothing such as a white cotton t-shirt or hat may only have a UPF of 5, equivalent to wearing SPF5 sunscreen.
Myth number 1: Sunscreen is all I need
The use of sunscreen is just one of a number of skin protection measures you should use every day. According to dermatologists, it should not be your primary form of protection and not your only one.
- Wear UPF50+ sun protective clothing that block UVA and UVB rays
- Wear a broad brim sun hat with a UPF50+ rating.
- Wear sunscreen with a SPF of 50+ on areas not covered by your UPF50+ clothing. Apply it 20 minutes before going out, and reapply every 2 hours....