You need some essential UV info for your holidays. There is very little that compares with enjoying oneself outdoors, with friends, family or even by yourself. If you’re planning on going on a beach vacation or just spending a lot of time in your garden, learn about UV and how to stay protected. Doing so will ensure that your skin won’t have to pay the price.
In this article, we will bring you up-to-speed regarding essential UV info for your holidays. These include what UV is, how to make sense of the UV index, the positive and negative effects of UV, and how to stay protected.
What is UV radiation?
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is made up of invisible rays. The sun emits these invisible rays throughout the day. It is a common misconception that if the sun is not visible (i.e. the weather is overcast), then we will not need to use products to protect us from the Sun. This is not the case because UV rays can penetrate the clouds, making contact with our skin, and causing damage. This is why there’s essential info that you need to know for your holidays.
There are 3 different types of UV rays. Each vary in their penetrative power. UVC is the least known of the three, and fortunately, the Earth’s ozone layer protects us from it. Practically 0% of this particular type of ray reaches the Earth’s surface. UVB is capable of breaking through, although the ozone layer does a fairly decent job of blocking out 95% of it. And lastly, we have UVA. This form of UV radiation finds its way to our planet’s surface 95% of the time. UVA and UVB radiation are associated with many of the negative effects of too much sun exposure.
What is the UV index?
In 1992, Canadian scientists developed the UV Index to help us prepare for our trips outdoors. The index is a forecast on a scale of 1 to 11+ based on the level of UV radiation. A UV index rating of 1 to 2 indicates a low chance of overexposure. An extremely high chance of overexposure is indicated by 11+. Governments around the world suggest that an prediction of 3 or higher in your area means you should wear as much protection as possible when going outside.
The effects of UV exposure
Positives —Although UV is a form of radiation, there are a handful of positive effects that come from a measured amount of exposure to the Sun.
1) Vitamin D – The Sun is a great source of vitamin D. This particular vitamin helps maintain strong bones and muscles, and boosts our immune system.
2) Mood enhancer – UV exposure is related to the release of serotonin in the brain. High levels of serotonin are associated with positive feelings of satisfaction and calmness. There is also a link between UV exposure and the release of endorphins which help us feel good.
3) Skin disease remedy – People suffering from Psoriasis and eczema have found that limited exposure to the Sun or UV radiation can be beneficial to counteracting their symptoms.
Negatives –Not so surprisingly, there are also multiple drawbacks to overexposure to the Sun. We shouldn’t take overexposure to UV radiation lightly.
1) Skin cancer – Statistics show that 90% of skin cancer (both melanoma and non-melanoma) is caused exclusively by exposure to the Sun.
2) Photosensitivity– Exposure to UV radiation while using certain drugs or medication can trigger allergic reactions or severe sunburn. If you are using any sort of oral or topical medication, check the label. Better yet, consult with your doctor about possible photosensitivity reactions.
3) Eye damage – If adequate sun glasses are not worn during exposure to UV rays, irreversible optical problems such as cataracts could arise. UV radiation can cause an inflammation of the cornea (photokeratitis), or inflammation of the linings of the eyelids or eye sockets (photoconjunctivitis).
Essential UV protection
UPF and SPF are another two bits of essential UV info for your holidays. When it comes to apparel, much of what is sold during the summer season is far from ideal for your health. You should look for garments that are specifically crafted to block out UV rays. These garments can make a significant difference. When selecting women’s swimwear or men’s swimwear, consider protection as much as design.
Do check on the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating of a garment such as a UV rash guard before making a purchase. Obviously, the higher the UPF value, the safer your skin will be. For example, the average white t-shirt lets in roughly 95% of the Sun’s UV rays. On the other hand, UPF 50+ apparel allows less than 2% to penetrate the skin. For those areas not covered by clothing, you should use Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 50 sunscreen. This blocks out 98% of UV rays, but you need to reapply it every couple hours. Don’t forget high-quality sunglasses that offer UV protection too.
What we suggest
- Stay up-to-date with the UV rating for your area or your holiday destination
- Plan your supplies and clothing according to your expected level of sun exposure
- Remember, if the UV index is indicating 3 or above, full protection is ideal. This means SPF 50 sunscreen, UPF 50+ clothing, and high-quality sunglasses.