UV Safety Month is the period of July when we are all urged to use sunscreen to protect against UV radiation exposure. It’s a great time to educate ourselves on the dangers of UV radiation to our skin and how to avoid negative health effects. It is also a great time to remind ourselves that we need to do more to raise people’s awareness about the dangers of UV radiation and the importance of wearing sunscreen and protective clothing.
UV light is radiation that emits from the sun. You can get UV exposure from artificial sources like tanning beds/lamps, but these also carry similar risks as direct sunlight.
Types of UV Light
UV light is dividable into three main types: UVA, UVB, and UVC. The shortest wavelengths belong to UVC; the smaller the wavelength, however, the more dangerous the UV rays. The middle wavelength belongs to UVA; it’s responsible for causing erythematous lesions that are normally found on sun-tanned moles as its peak range is 320–400 nm. UVB is also fairly harmful when exposed to it for quite a long time. It is 200nm-280nm. Athletes protect their bodies from these ultraviolet rays using clothing and sunscreen, but can still burn if they don’t reapply their protective products frequently enough because there are fluctuations in daily weather conditions such as temperature, clouds, and water vapor because these can dramatically reduce sunscreen’s ability to block 70-90% of UV rays.
Ultraviolet light can cause damage to the eyes, especially UVB and UVC. UVC does not transmit through the glass and is present only in certain lamps including germicidal lamps meant for sterilizing with a narrow range of wavelengths specific to killing bacteria or algae. It is also found in tanning beds which could lead to eye damage within minutes of tanning even for the shortest amount of time if done without safety goggles. UVC rays should not be confused with UV-free light which we get most often during our day-to-day lives. UVB cannot make it through window glass; however, it can cause injuries such as cataracts, skin cancer, and growths or lesions on your eye through a large amount of exposure over time.