There is always some amount of UV radiation pouring into Earth’s atmosphere, but it’s at its highest when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. When the sun burns your skin, you’ve been exposed to UV radiation. But just how dangerous is it?
UV Rays and You
UV radiation can cause non-melanoma skin cancer, which is almost always curable. This happens to people who are exposed to sunlight on a long-term basis. Melanoma, which is more dangerous, occurs in those who have experienced several short-term exposures. Long-term UV exposure can also lead to cataracts.
The UV index shows you how much of that ultraviolet light is getting to the surface of the Earth. How quickly your skin burns due to that UV light is determined by how dark your skin is (how much natural pigmentation it has) and how much light is shining down on the planet.
Because ultraviolet rays can cause skin cancer, melanoma, it’s good to raise your own awareness of this harmful light that’s always shining down. It’s a pretty scary idea that sunlight itself is a danger, but there are ways to protect yourself from it.
When the UV index has a minimal rating, an SPF 15 sunscreen is enough to protect your skin. If the UV index jumps up to low, keep your sunblock on and add protective clothing. A wide-brimmed hat is probably enough to give you a little personal shade. Add sunglasses, and more protective clothing, when the UV index moves up to moderate. If the rating is high, do try to stay in the shade from 10 am to 4 pm. Wear sunglasses, sunblock and clothing to protect your skin from the sunlight.
Safer in the Sun
Being more aware of ultraviolet rays, and how to protect yourself against them, is a perfect way to celebrate the month of May. So wear your sunscreen, stick to the shade when needed and stay safer in the sun.