o really make the best choices for your skin you do need to know about UV. Ultra Violet Radiation from the sun is categorized into three different bands - UVA, UVB & UVC. Don’t worry about UVC, it gets filtered out by the atmosphere and doesn’t reach the earth’s surface. But we all have to be concerned about UVA & UVB radiation.
UVA - Think A for ageing.
UVA is a major culprit in the process of skin ageing. It is a pretty insidious thing as it travels deeper into the skin than UVB. It penetrates deep into the dermis and damages collagen. Damage to the collagen causes the skin to increase its production of elastin, but this is not a good thing! The large amount of enzymes being produced also results in a large amount of enzymes (metalloproteinases). The goal of these enzymes is to rebuild damaged collagen but unfortunately they don’t do that job well (think of them as the dodgy builders of the dermis world). They often break down and damage the collagen even further resulting in incorrectly rebuilt skin. As this process is repeated with daily UVA exposure, the incorrectly rebuilt skin forms wrinkles and the depleted collagen results in leathery skin. Its hard to escape the damaging power of UVA as it can even penetrate glass, so even sitting by a window on a sunny day or on a car journey we are all susceptible to UVA damage.
UVB - Think B for burn.
At first glance UVB doesn’t seem to be as threatening to your skin as UVA but trust me on this; it is very, very, very destructive! Though UVB rays don’t travel as far into the skin as UVA rays they are still incredibly damaging. UVB causes sunburn and sunburn is directly linked to skin cancers such as malignant melanoma and basal cell carcinoma. If after reading that last sentence I cannot persuade you to use a sunscreen I give up in absolute despair!!!