For those of us in the States, the month of July brings beach parties, backyard barbecues, and a variety of other fun-in-the-sun festivities. But being outdoors can also increase our UV-ray exposure, which may result in some not-so-safe side-effects, including:
• Skin cancer
• Skin damage
• Premature skin aging
• Eye damage (cataracts)
• Immune-system suppression
While we shouldn’t take this as an excuse to avoid the sun altogether, severe UV-ray exposure could affect our years of fun to be had in the future. So as we flock to the beaches and barbecues this summer, let’s remember to protect our skin!
Sunlight produces two types of UV rays – UVA rays and UVB rays (a third kind, UVC, rarely penetrates the atmosphere). UVB rays reach the skin’s outer layer, called the epidermis, while UVA rays penetrate to the skin’s middle layer, the dermis. Both are capable of causing sunburns, skin damage, and skin-aging.
It’s not all bad news … the sun’s UVB rays are a super-source for getting our daily dose of vitamin D – even while wearing sunscreen!