Don’t Let UV Rays Ruin Your Summer
Summer is a time for beach parties, barbecues, cold drinks and adventures with the kids. While all of this seems fun, there is more to summer safety than you might think.
That beautiful golden sunshine that is pouring down on you contains ultraviolet radiation (UVR), and in Australia, we get more than our fair share! UVR can contribute to sunburn, skin cancer and other complications if you don’t properly protect yourself.
In this article, we’ll help you to understand how UVR works and the damage it can cause.
What Are UV Rays?
The energy radiated by our sun comes in many wavelengths with different wavelengths having different effects. They can create visible light and heat as well as affecting life on Earth in profound ways.
The UVR wavelengths that reach Earth range from 290 to 400 nanometres (nm). The shorter the wavelength, the more ‘energetic’ and dangerous the radiation and UVR wavelengths are some of the shortest.
UV-A and UV-B
There are two categories of UVR. UV-A is made up of wavelengths from 320-400 nm and UV-B is comprised of wavelengths between 290 and 320 nm.
UV-A plays an essential role in the formation of vitamin D but it can also cause sunburn and cataracts.
UV-B, on the other hand, can be much more dangerous, causing deep and lasting harm.
Common Problems Caused by UVR
The problems that can arise from UVR exposure range from painful to long-lasting. They include:
Sunburn is very painful, but in and of itself it is not harmful. However, with every burn your risk of melanoma goes up. In the strong Australian sun, that can be a fairly scary reality.
Don’t tell all those sunbathers on the beach, but UVR ages you very quickly. Research by L’Oréal found that around 80% of visible ageing and wrinkles could be attributed to UV-A exposure.
UV rays can have disastrous effects on your eyes. In the short-term, acute exposure can cause photokeratitis or snow blindness. Over the long term, both repeated acute exposure and prolonged cumulative exposure can cause vision-impairing cataracts.
Skin cancer can occur when UV-B, and possibly UV-A, mutates the body’s DNA or cells.
Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are the most common types. These are problematic but they are usually manageable and localised.
Melanoma is less common, though by no means rare, and it is deeply dangerous. Melanoma is caused by mutated melanocytes, the cells that create melanin. Melanoma can spread quickly across your skin and to organs, becoming difficult to treat. Thankfully, it is usually quite easy to spot and early intervention is the key.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
When it comes to UV exposure, regular mole checks are highly recommended. You should also take other preventative steps to reduce your risks.
Use sunscreen every day, especially in summer, and wear a hat and appropriate clothing. It’s also helpful to make sure that outdoor areas around your home or business can be shaded easily. A great way to achieve this is with a quality shade sail installation. Residential and commercial shade sails are more effective than shade cloths, providing SPF 50+ protection. If you need to create more shade for your home, school, park or business in Perth, get in touch with Supreme Shades to discuss the best option for you.