There are two types of ultraviolet rays, UVB and UVA. One easy way of remembering the Ultraviolet B is that it is the Burning type, this light is responsible for suntans as well as sunburns. Ultraviolet A rays are even more dangerous because they penetrate into the deeper layers of skin and contribute to premature aging of skin, with development of fine lines and wrinkles. Both of the rays can cause skin cancer such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. UVB rays are more active and cause more damage during the summer months especially during midday, between 1-4PM. UVA on the other hand are active all year round in any weather and all day long. Unlike the UVB, UVA lights are not filtered through window glass. So your skin is getting damaged even when you are sitting inside a car on a cloudy day . Which means that even if you don’t go to a beach every summer and stay inside closed windows your skin can still age prematurely without protection.

How You Can Protect Yourself From The Damaging Effects Of UVB and UVA.

Most of us have heard the term SPF (sun protection factor) many times. However, the SPF only measures the protection against UVB and not UVA (because UVA rays were once thought to be safe). When you are buying a sun screen it is a good idea to look for these chemicals in a product; Parsol 1789 (avobenzone) which is a chemical blocker, or Microfine Zinc Oxide or Microfine Titanium Dioxide, which are physical blockers.

Sources: Eastside Dermatology, Alan J. Parks, MD, Stephanie L. Cotell, MD. (BCD)