Blog about skin health and skin cancer prevention

Dangerous UV Rays


Photo Werner Stieber-0925 (1)

OA Dr. Michael Tripolt, MPH, Dermatology and Venereology

Studied medicine at the Karl-Franzens-University Graz and Cambridge University (degree in Human Medicine 1999 and Public Health 2005). Residency at the Univ. Clinic Graz (graduated in surgery in 2006, graduated in dermatology in 2012).

Good weather and sunshine are pleasing to the mind and lift the spirits of most of us. Especially now during the Corona pandemic, many people use breaks from work and study to enjoy the sun. The sun not only increases our well-being, but also promotes the formation of vitamin D, which is important for building and maintaining bones.

However, we should not forget that sunlight, which is composed of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, visible light and infrared radiation, can also damage the skin outside the summer months. The very energetic UV rays can cause skin damage if you are exposed to them unprotected. In the worst case, this skin damage can cause skin cancer.

In general, it can be said that UV rays are not always the same throughout the year. The intensity of UV rays varies in the different seasons Often the low temperatures in March and April, as well as September and October, deceive us about the strength of the UV radiation. Even in these months, the skin needs protection.

In the summer months from May to August, the UV rays are most intense and therefore the skin should be protected by sunscreen and clothing at all costs. From November to February, the UV rays are mostly weaker in Austria.

However, it should be remembered that sun protection is extremely important in the mountains and when skiing, as the UV rays are intensified by the reflection of the snow.

UVB rays

They are very energy-rich, short-wave and penetrate the uppermost layer of the skin. There they stimulate the pigment cells in the epidermis to form brown pigment. This turns the skin brown and forms a natural protective reaction of the skin.

However, the skin gets sunburned after too long and intensive exposure to the sun without sun protection. UVB rays cause sunburn and damage the genetic material (DNA) of the skin.

UVA rays

The long-wave UVA rays are lower in energy but penetrate particularly deep into the skin. They lead to premature skin ageing, which is manifested by wrinkling and pigmentation spots.

In sufficient quantities, UVA rays can contribute to the development of skin cancer. It makes no difference whether the UVA rays come from the sun or an artificial light source, such as a solarium.

Both UVA and UVB rays can cause skin damage without sun protection. UVC rays are absorbed in the atmosphere and do not penetrate to the earth’s surface.

Regular, unprotected UV radiation can cause permanent damage to the DNA. They often lead to degeneration of the affected cells and eventually to the development of skin cancer.

When buying sunscreen, you must therefore make sure that UVA and UVB protection is provided. Protect your skin all year round, whether it is sunny or cloudy, summer or winter
You are in your skinfor life!

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