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coola's sun science lesson

UVA vs UVB

what's behind your tan

We want to be straight with you - there really is no safe way to tan. When the skin feels direct sun exposure, it screams “HELP!” In scientific terms, this means ultraviolet light is penetrating the epidermis causing the skin to react by producing melanin, aka your suntan. In your mind, a tan may give you that young, healthy glow, but over time it causes just the opposite: a change in skin texture, wrinkling, age spots or worse – the big C. 

We’ve done our research and we’d like to give you a little sun science lesson. This is important stuff that could save your life, or at the least keep you looking younger longer – and who wouldn’t love that?
 

UVA + UVB: the long and short of it

The sunlight that reaches us is made up of two types of harmful rays: long wave ultraviolet A (UVA) and short wave ultraviolet B (UVB). Basically, UVA rays can age us and UVB rays can burn us. Overexposure to either can damage the skin. There’s also a third type of ray, UVC - these are the shortest and strongest, but thankfully they’re absorbed by the ozone layer and don’t typically reach the Earth.

UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis, the skin’s thickest layer. Unprotected exposure can lead to premature skin aging and suppression of the immune system. And when your skin’s defenses are down, you’re at risk for skin cancer.

UVB rays will usually burn the superficial layers of your skin. The intensity of UVB rays vary by season, location and time of day, with 10AM to 4PM being the peak hours. Sunburned skin doesn’t just feel awful, it can cause permanent damage over time.

This is why keeping your skin protected is imperative. The next question is what type and level of SPF to use, and what’s the difference between sunscreen and sunblock anyway?

 

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