What is UV radiation?
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation from the sun and artificial light sources such as tanning beds and welding torches. It is different from the sun's light (what we see) and the sun's heat (what we feel). Radiation is the emission (emission) of energy from any source. There are many types of radiation, ranging from very high energy (high frequency) radiation - such as X-rays and gamma rays - to very low energy (low frequency) radiation - such as radio waves. Ultraviolet light is in the middle of this spectrum, They have more energy than visible light, but not as much as X-rays. The sun emits energy in three wavelengths: UVA, UVB, and UVC. The stratosphere blocks all UVC radiation, most UVB, but no UVA radiation. Therefore, both UVA and UVB are beneficial to human health, Sunlight provides our body with vitamin D, which we need to stay healthy. Scientists have been unable to determine how much vitamin D to consume correctly without being exposed to too much sunlight, but they are working to find a solution. But over-exposed, can lead to skin damage, premature aging, and a possible risk of skin cancer in people.
What are the different types of UV radiation rays?
Ultraviolet A (UVA), Ultraviolet B (UVB), and Ultraviolet C (UVC) are three main types of ultraviolet radiation: These groups are based on the measurement of their UV wavelength, measured in nanometers (nm = 0.000000001 meters or 1×10-9 meters).
Not absorbed by the ozone layer
Most are absorbed by the ozone layer, but some reach the Earth's surface
Completely absorbed by the ozone layer and atmosphere
All short-wavelength UVC and most mid-wavelength UVB radiation is absorbed by the Earth's ozone layer and therefore does not pose much radiation risk, almost all UV radiation on Earth is UVA. Short-wavelength UVC is the most damaging type of UV radiation, and medium-wavelength UVB is highly biologically active but cannot penetrate the surface layers of the skin. Relatively long wavelengths of UVA make up about 95 percent of the UV radiation that reaches the Earth's surface. Although UVA radiation is weaker than UVB, it can penetrate deeper into a person's skin and create a tanning effect. We should avoid prolonged exposure and take sun protection measures when going out.
How are people exposed to UV radiation?
Sunlight is the main source of UV radiation, although UV rays make up only a small fraction of the sun's rays. Different types of UV rays reach the ground in different amounts (unit: nm). About 95% of the solar ultraviolet rays reaching the ground are UVA rays, and the remaining 5% are UVB rays.
The intensity of UV rays reaching the ground depends on many factors, such as:
lTime of the day: UV rays are strongest between 11 am and 4 pm.
lSeason of the year: UV rays are stronger in spring and summer. The effect of radiation near the equator is greater.
lAltitude: Higher the altitude, the stronger the UV rays.
lReflection off surfaces: UV rays can bounce off surfaces such as water, sand, sidewalks, and even grass, resulting in increased UV exposure.
lDistance from the equator (latitude): The closer you are to the equator, the stronger the UV exposure; conversely, the farther you are from the equator, the weaker the UV exposure.
lContents of the air: For example, ozone in the upper atmosphere filters out some ultraviolet radiation. The amount of UV exposure a person gets depends on the length of time the skin is exposed, the intensity of the UV rays, and whether the skin is protected with clothing, sunscreen, or a sun umbrella.
Man-made sources of UV rays
lPhototherapy (UV therapy): Some common skin problems such as psoriasis can be helped with UV therapy. For a treatment called PUVA, a drug called psoralen is first given. The drug builds up in the skin, making it more sensitive to UV light. The patient then receives UVA radiation therapy. Another treatment option is UVB alone (without medication).
lSunbeds and Sunlamps (tanning beds and booths): The amount and type of UV radiation a person is exposed to from a tanning bed (or cubicle) depend on the specific lamps used on the bed. How long a person is exposed to in bed, and how many times the person uses it. Most modern UV tanning beds emit mainly UVA rays, with the rest being UVB.
lBlack-light lamps: These lamps use bulbs that emit ultraviolet light (mainly UVA). The bulb also emits some visible light, but it has a filter that blocks the most visible light while letting UV light through. These bulbs glow purple and are used to view fluorescent materials. Insect traps also use a "black light" that emits some UV light, but the bulbs use a different filter that makes them emit blue light.
Does UV radiation cause cancer?
Most skin cancers are caused by exposure to UV rays from the sun, and too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can damage the DNA in skin cells and cause skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma (the most common type of skin cancer) tend to occur in sun-exposed areas of the body, and too much UV radiation from the sun or sunbeds can damage the DNA in our skin cells, DNA tells our cells how to function. If enough DNA damage accumulates over time, it can cause cells to start growing out of control, which can lead to skin cancer.
How harmful is UV radiation?
Too much UV light hitting the skin in a short period of time can cause painful sunburns, while large amounts of sunburn can cause lasting damage to the skin that is difficult to recover. People who have been exposed to UV light for years without any protection can suffer irreparable damage. This comes in the form of premature aging, eye damage, skin damage, and in the worst case, skin cancer. Getting a sunburn every two years triples the risk of melanoma skin cancer compared to never getting sunburned.
The first sign of UV damage to the skin is premature skin ageing in people under 50. Sun-exposed skin, especially the face, forearms, and backs of the hands, can become wrinkled and dry, often with brown spots, and a small amount of visible blood on the face. These changes are caused by UV rays destroying the elasticity that gives the skin its youthful appearance. You can tell how damaging UV rays are to exposed skin by comparing its appearance and texture to skin that hasn't been exposed to the sun for a long time.
Severe UV damage to skin cells can cause red, scaly skin lesions (sometimes called "sunspots"). Skin cancer can develop from damaged cells over time. In fact, skin cancer is by far the most common cancer in Australia. Your face is most often affected, and the scalp is also vulnerable to UV damage and skin damage if not protected by hair or a hat.
There are several types of skin cancer, with varying degrees of severity. Melanoma is a less common cancer that develops in the skin's pigment cells. New Zealand and Australia have the two highest rates of melanoma in the world. So from childhood, melanoma is preventable by protecting the skin from UV rays.
It's not just your skin that is suffering. UV rays can also damage our eyes when our eyes are not protected. It causes the growth of tissue and blood vessels in the inner corner of the eye (called "pterygium") and cataracts in the lens, which may cause blurred vision.
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