Thursday, May 20th, 2021
by Mary-Kate Ellis, PA-C
Since May is skin cancer awareness month, let’s talk about the importance of applying sunscreen every day.
Sunlight is essential for the synthesis of vitamin D and has beneficial effects on mood. However, ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun have a cumulative effect on the skin that can lead to sunburn, photoaging, and skin cancer over time. You cannot undo the DNA damage to your cells. No amount of skincare, Botox®, dermal filler, etc looks as good as someone who consistently uses sunscreen everyday to minimize damage in the first place.
UVA, UVB, and UVC are the three types of radiation emitted from the sun. Exposure of the skin to UV light has acute effects, such as sunburn and tanning, and chronic effects, such as photoaging, and cancer.
The Difference Between UVA, UVB, and UVC
UVA rays are longer and penetrate deeper into the dermis. They cause long term damage such as premature aging and wrinkles. Did you know that UVA rays can even penetrate through window glass? UVA rays make up more than 95% of the sun’s radiation that reaches the earth’s surface. UVA is also thought to play a role in carcinogenesis or cancer formation. Meanwhile, UVB rays penetrate through the superficial layer of the skin known as the epidermis. UVB rays cause burns and delayed tanning. UVB also causes DNA damage that can lead to genetic mutations and skin cancers. The third type of radiation is UVC. However, UVC is filtered out by the ozone layer so it does not reach the earth’s surface.