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UV radiation acts on the skin through four basic processes:
The chronic effects of UV on the skin are cumulative and interdependent. Ultraviolet radiation can be emitted from a natural source (the sun) or from an artificial source, such as tanning lamps. While the dangers of UVB have been known for a long time, the dangers of UVA have only recently become apparent. However, both are dangerous because they penetrate the epidermis and can affect the eyes.
90% of UVB rays are absorbed by the epidermis, the surface layer of the skin. They stimulate the production of a pigment called melanin secreted by the melanocytes, which colours the surface of the skin. But this beautiful tan is actually the skin’s defence against the sun's aggression. And when UVB exposure is so strong that the skin can no longer defend itself, that's when you get sunburn (UVB is the main culprit). Highly energetic UVB can cause direct damage to the DNA of skin cells: DNA lesions. In the long term, this can lead to the formation of skin cancers.
UVA rays penetrate directly into the hypodermis, the deepest layer of the skin. For a long time, they were thought to be harmless because, unlike UVB, they don’t cause sunburn, so there is no discomfort when they penetrate the skin. However, UVA rays are the main culprits of skin ageing because they cause a loss of elastin in skin cells. The skin loses its suppleness, dries out, and wrinkles appear and deepen. UVA rays are also involved in the development of certain skin cancers and melanomas.
Although we all love to lounge on a beach in the summer, exposure to the sun doesn't come without risks. Ultraviolet light can cause numerous skin reactions and irreversible damage to the skin and eyes. In the most severe cases, the damage can be fatal.
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