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UV RAYS

How Your Skin Tans

UVA – known as the tanning ray, is primarily responsible for darkening the pigment in our skin.  UVA is less energetic than UVB, so exposure to UVA will not result to a burn, unless the skin is photo-sensitized or excessive doses are used.  UVA penetrates more deeply into the skin than UVB due to its lower wavelength.  Most tanning bulbs have a high UVA output, with a small percentage of UVB.

 

UVB – sometimes called the “burning ray” is the primary cause of sunburn when we are exposed to sunlight.  However, UVB also initiates beneficial responses, such as stimulating the production of vitamin D3, which is necessary to help our bodies absorb calcium and which also helps to repair damaged skin cells.  In addition, UVB stimulates special skin cells called melanocytes to produce melanin, which becomes additional protective pigment.

Therefore UVB in careful doses increases our pigmentation and as a result increases the sun protector factor (SPF) of our skin.  UVB does not penetrate deeply into the skin; the darker or more tanned the skin, the less UVB penetrates.

 

UVC – is the most energetic of all the UV bands and will burn human skin in extremely small doses over short periods.  However, it is completely blocked by the ozone layer, and does not appear in a tanning bulb.



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Skin Quiz

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