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Sunlight arrives on earth in three forms: infrared (heat), visible light and ultraviolet. Ultraviolet light is classified into three categories: UVA which causes tanning, UVB which damages skin and causes sunburn, and UVC which is filtered out by atmosphere and never reaches earth. 99% of sun's UV radiation at sea level is UVA. UVB is one reeks havoc on our skin causing premature aging, deep wrinkles, and in worst cases cancer.
UV radiation is reflected by different surfaces so you can amplify your exposure depending on reflective surface. Snow reflects up to 90% of UV light and has been known to cause snow blindness and severe sunburn from skiing on a sunny day. Sand reflects up to 20% of UVB that hits it so you get extra UV exposure at beach. The flip to this is that some things absorb almost all UV radiation. Glass is a perfect example Ė thatís why you donít burn in your car on a hot day. Sunscreens use chemicals that have UV-absorbing properties.
Sunburn Caucasian people do not have a natural built in protection as do many races. So if you are a caucasion with no tan then your skin is not protected from UV rays, making you susceptible to sunburn if you spend too much time in sun. Sunburn leaves your skin red and extremely painful, and in severe cases blisters will appear.
Over course of several hours, exposed skin turns bright red and becomes extremely painful when touched. Most times you can feel heat radiating from skin. When you get a sunburn you have have killed skin cells. The outer epidermis are already dead skin cells, but just below these cells is a continuous supply of new cells being created to replenish top layer of dead cells. When you sit in sun you expose yourself to ultraviolet light which kills cells. The ultraviolet light is able to reach layer of living cells in epidermis and begins to damage and kill them. Your body knows that cells are being killed, so your immune system is activated to clean things up. Blood flow to area is increased which opens up capillary walls so that white blood cells can come in and remove damaged cells. The increased blood flow makes your skin warm and red. The nerve endings for pain begin sending signals to your brain. The damaged cells release chemicals that activate pain receptors and this is end result where your sunburn hurts or is very sensitive. You can avoid sunburn by using a proper strength sunscreen or pace yourself getting a tan which then acts as a natural sunscreen created with its own special pigment cells in epidermis. When you have a nice tan and go out in sun you donít get burnt, unless your so fair you never tan in which case you need to use sunscreen all time Evidence is now showing that massive increase in skin cancer is as a result of sun exposure that occurred, in many cases, over 20 years ago. So take care of your skin by using sunscreen, itís only skin youíve got for your lifetime.
We all seem to strive for rich golden color of summer. It lifts our spirits and makes us feel better all over. Which ever method you decide to use to get that golden brown skin, use common sense to achieve your goals and always wear sunscreen when outside. Your skin will thank you 20 or 30 years from now when your not all wrinkled like a prune and not undergoing skin cancer treatments. Take care of your skin, itís got to las you a lifetime!
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