There’s no doubt about it. Most people in sunny areas understand the dangers of high exposure to the sun. But many still don’t do enough to protect themselves. Simple acts like wearing sunscreen, covering skin, utilising window tinting and avoiding the outdoors during the peak hours of the day can all help reduce your exposure to harmful UV rays. Here are just a few essential facts about UV rays.
Three types: UVA, UVB & UVC
There’s no shortage of sun on the sunshine coast, so it’s important to understand what makes up a ray of sunshine. UVA rays tend to cause wrinkles, sun spots and premature aging, whereas UVB rays are the rays responsible for sunburn, and are a common cause of many skin cancers. UVC are actually the deadliest of the UV rays, but aren’t able to get through the ozone layer, so you are usually protected from these.
Sitting in the car? There are still UV rays.
Many people don’t realise that UV rays can cut through glass, meaning that the windows to your home and car are probably not protecting you from sun exposure. You can fix this by investing in window tinting. If you’re in the Sunshine Coast or Brisbane area (or anywhere else known for sunny days!), search for a local company like Energy Efficient Tinting to make your car and home safer in the long term.
Cloudy or cool day? There are still UV rays.
Just because the sun is behind clouds, or the temperature has dropped, doesn’t mean the UV rays have disappeared. They will drop a little, but they’re still present, so if you’re venturing outside in the middle of the day, make sure you have a hat and sunscreen with you!
In the water? UV rays love water reflection!
Going to the beach can be a double whammy, as the sun beats down on you from above, then hits the water and sand, and the UV rays reflect back up at you from below. It’s almost like getting two lots of sun exposure at once. So if you’re going into the surf, try to avoid the middle of the day and wear plenty of sun protection.
The higher you go, the more you risk
As the altitude rises, so does the intensity of the UV rays. This is because the quality of the air purity increases and the atmosphere thins, meaning less UV rays are absorbed before they reach you. So be careful when you’re climbing those mountains!
UV isn’t just damaging to your skin
You can also damage your eyes by too much UV exposure. High doses of UV light to the eye has been known to temporarily damage or cloud the cornea, and has been tentatively linked to the development of cataracts.
UV rays aren’t all bad
UV light has been used to destroy a number of viruses, mould and bacteria. So it’s not all bad. Just make sure you don’t get too much of it each day.
There are some essential (and hopefully interesting) facts about UV rays. Make sure you share your new knowledge to help protect others, and keep having fun in the sun!