Ultraviolet Light Rays
June 3, 2015
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Ultraviolet Light Rays
Ultraviolet (UV) light rays are a small portion of the suns light but have a big impact on our skin. We can be exposed to UV rays through artificial sources like tanning beds. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, skin cancer is the most prevalent cancer in the United States. In 2011 over 65,000 people (38,000 men, 27,000 women) in the United States were diagnosed with melanomas of the skin. In the same year over 9,000 people (6,000 men, 3,000 women) died from melanomas of the skin1. The incidence rate of melanomas of the skin in Utah is 31.9, which is significantly higher than the national average of 19.7. The death rate of melanomas of the skin is also higher in Utah, 3.5, than the national average of 2.72.
Dear 16-year Old Me
ABC’s of UV Rays
In our quest to prevent cancer it’s important to understand UV rays and protections. There are three primary types of UV rays:
- UVA Rays: These are the rays primarily associated with aging and wrinkling and can increase the risk of certain skin cancers. UVA rays have the potential for the deepest penetration of skin layers because of its longer wave length compared to the other UV waves. Exposure to these types of UV rays is most common.
- UVB Rays: These rays have more energy than UVA rays and are associated with sunburn and a majority of skin cancers. These waves have a shorter wave length than UVA rays and do not penetrate past the upper layers of skin. Most of the UVB rays are cannot get through earth’s atmosphere.
- UVC Rays: These rays are the most energetic and have the potential to do the most damage because of they are relatively the shortest length in comparison with the other UV rays. The good news is that no UVC rays make it to earth’s surface because the atmosphere filters all of it.
Your skin is the largest organ of your body. It is the frontline of defense against weather conditions, hazardous and unhazardous materials, and especially against factors we can’t see. The proper sunscreen routine can increase your skin’s securit.
- SPF 15: This is the minimum threshold for incidental UV ray exposure. With this you can block up to 93% of UV radiation in casual, short-term exposure .
- SPF 30: This is the minimum threshold for prolonged UV ray exposure. With this you can block up to 97% of UV radiation in extended, intense exposure.
- SPF 50: Similar benefits of SPF 30, blocks up to 98% of UV radiation.
How the Sun Sees You
The UV rays of the sun are the strongest from the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can test the sun’s intensity by using the height of your shadow. If your shadow is shorter than your height, then you are out during the most intense exposure of UV rays. Appropriate clothing options can offer protection from UV rays as well. If you put your hand under an article of clothing and can see it through the fabric, then you know you would be getting very little protection from UV rays.
With the arrival of spring and anticipation of summer, now is the time to, not only enjoy the outdoors, but also ensure a safer future by protecting ourselves from harmful UV light rays. Although we have a higher risk of developing skin cancer because of our location, we can apply effective prevention practices that allow us to live a happy and healthy life.
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