Summer is here and all of the outdoor activities that the warm weather makes possible can increase your risk of sun-induced skin damage. Do you know the difference between UVA and UVB rays? Ultraviolet A (UVA) means long-wave rays and Ultraviolet B (UVB) means shortwave rays, see diagram below.
UVA rays, which penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB, has long been known to play a major part in skin aging and wrinkling (photoaging), but until recently scientists believed it did not cause significant damage in areas of the epidermis (outermost skin layer) where most skin cancers occur. Studies over the past two decades, however, show that UVA damages skin cells called keratinocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis, where most skin cancers occur. (Basal and squamous cells are types of keratinocytes.) UVA contributes to and may even initiate the development of skin cancers.
UVB rays, the chief cause of skin reddening and sunburn, tends to damage the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers. It plays a key role in the development of skin cancer and a contributory role in tanning and photoaging. Its intensity varies by season, location, and time of day. The most significant amount of UVB hits the U.S. between 10 AM and 4 PM from April to October. However, UVB rays can burn and damage your skin year-round, especially at high altitudes and on reflective surfaces such as snow or ice, which bounce back up to 80 percent of the rays so that they hit the skin twice. UVB rays do not significantly penetrate glass.
I take the prevention of skin cancer seriously. Most days I wear a hat and sunglasses, but always wear sunscreen. The Mary Kay daily skin care line has moisturizers that contain up to SPF 25 sunscreen. Whenever I plan to be out and about enjoying a beautiful day at the beach, I put on a waterproof sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using daily a UVA/UVB sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher; and, for extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Mary Kay® SPF 30 Sunscreen*
- Mary Kay® Lip Protector Sunscreen SPF 15*
- Mary Kay® Subtle Tanning Lotion*
Learn More About Sun Facts and Safety. Click Here.
*Over-the-counter drug product.