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What types of solar radiation are there and how do they influence our skin?

It's time for the beach, swimming pool, tanning and... Lots of sun cream! And it's not for hands. Because? Well, because, although solar radiation is essential for the proper functioning of the earth (for example, for photosynthesis in plants), it can also cause skin damage. Also, did you know that with the greenhouse effect that has increased in recent decades, these skin problems have increased?

Well yes, like everything in life, solar radiation has its advantages and disadvantages . And all because the energy emitted by the sun is transmitted through electromagnetic waves of different kinds. Do you want to know what types of solar radiation reach us and what consequences they have? Keep reading!

What types of sun rays are there?

  • Infrared (IR) rays: emit heat . So much so, that they are responsible for heat strokes and sunstrokes . They can reach the deepest layer of the skin ( dermis ) and, in addition, they enhance the harmful effects that UV rays can cause us .
  • Visible rays (VI): are those that emit light and that the human being perceives in the form of colors . That is why this type of radiation is not only related to the Sun , but is also emitted by different LED devices , for example. However, visible rays are not harmless , since blue light penetrates into the deepest layers of the skin , and can cause hyperpigmentation , cellular oxidation or damage similar to UVA rays.
  • Ultraviolet rays (UV): although these rays are invisible to the human eye , in truth they are the ones that most affect our skin and are divided into 3 subcategories:
    • UVA rays: ultraviolet rays . They are the ones that cross the atmosphere more easily , so they are the ones that reach the Earth's surface the most and, consequently, our skin . Up to 50% of this radiation reaches the dermis (deeper layer of the skin). They are responsible for cellular oxidation and the creation of free radicals and produce an “ instant tan ”.
    • UVB rays: ultraviolet B rays . Although they pass through the atmosphere with difficulty , they are the rays that can produce the most serious consequences in the epidermis . Even so, they do not reach as deep as UVA as far as our skin is concerned, since only about 15% reaches the dermis . The tan produced by this type of radiation lasts longer . These rays are the cause of certain skin burns or even skin cancer . They can directly damage cellular DNA , causing mutations in our genes.
    • UVC rays: ultraviolet C rays . These types of rays do not pass through the atmosphere , since the ozone layer absorbs them .

To know the intensity of the radiation that is affecting our skin , the UV index is used , with which, on a scale from 1 to 11 , it measures the probability of suffering skin and eye injuries. From a value of 2 , a person could consider that their skin is at risk.


Did you know the types of solar rays that affect the skin ? I think this is more than enough reason to protect your skin from the sun with a good sun cream . If you want to know more about it, keep reading!

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