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Health information

Types and effect of UV rays

There are three types of UV rays:
  • The UV-A rays (98 percent of the total UV rays reaching the surface of the Earth) form the prevalent small-energy domain that is the closest to visible light, and it is the least dangerous to health. This light has a beneficial effect on the human body, contributes to ossification and pigment production (tanning). The lack of UV-A rays leads to a bone development disease called rickets.
  • The UV-B rays (2 percent of total UV rays reaching the Earth's surface) form a high-energy radiation which is harmful and dangerous. Normally the ozone layer of the Earth absorbs them. If they reach our body in higher quantity, they burn our skin, cause cancerous mutations of the skin and can effect even our eyesight and immune system!
  • UV-C radiation is the strongest, the most harmful and dangerous; luckily the ozone layer totally filters it out, for the time being.

Health values of UV rays

The so-called UV index forecasts the maximum strength of the ultraviolet rays coming from the Sun to the Earth. This index, published by the National Forecast Service, indicates more exactly the risk of burning than the forecast of temperature. The UV index easily and unambiguously determines the intensity of the UV radiation and the preventive measures in open air accordingly. Values of UV index increase on a scale of 1 to 10. The higher the index, the bigger the probability that UV rays harm our skin or eyes in a shorter time. In Europe, the index value does not exceed 8 during summer, but it might rise especially in waterfront resorts. Many countries include the UV index in the daily weather forecast.

Source: http://www.poszeidon-mentok.hu/hirek.html

How does the skin tan?

Our natural skin colour is determined by the pigment called melanin. Inheritance determines its quantity in our skin. As an effect of the UV rays, melanocyte cells start a process deep in the skin which produces more melanin. Tanning occurs when the produced melanin reaches the surface of the skin. At the same time, UV rays thicken the top layer of the skin. This is the natural self-defence of the skin in order to avoid burning. Those with darker-coloured skin produce more melanin in shorter period, while light-coloured skin contains very little melanin so it does not get tanned either by sunlight or by solarium. If we overdo natural sunbathing, our skin burns easily. The skin has the capability to regenerate naturally, but if we abuse it too often, it gets overloaded which can cause permanent harm to the skin.
Little UV light = lack of vitamin D. Possible consequences:
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Rickets
  • Breast cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Colon cancer

Abundant UV light = harmful effects
  • Burning
  • Skin aging
  • Sun allergy (photocontact allergy)
  • Nettle rash (urticaria solare)
  • Skin cancer (basalioma)
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