The Sun provides sunlight to Planet Earth, which is an essential resource for all living beings. This resource provides heat, light, and Vitamin D. The rays of our large orange star in the center of the solar system also give off a type of radiation, which is called ultraviolet light. Here is its definition, different types, and dangers of long exposure:
Ultraviolet light or UV is a type of electromagnetic radiation that comes naturally from the Sun. It is different from an X-ray because it has a longer wavelength, but it is shorter than visible light. This kind of radiation is only 10 percent of the total light produced by the large orange star of the solar system. Most humans cannot see ultraviolet rays, but specific birds, insects, and mammals can almost see it.
There are currently three main types of UV rays known to man, UVA, UVB and UVC. The first one is the UVA ray, which is slightly dangerous. Ultraviolet A can cause wrinkles and some skin cancers, but it happens slower. It is slightly weaker than the second type of UV ray and can be found in most tanning beds.
The third type of UV rays is the UVC rays, which are harmless unless you are out of the atmosphere. They have more energy than the two types of UV rays, but they cannot penetrate through the Earth’s atmosphere. They are also not included in sunlight, which is why they are not normally the cause of skin cancer.
There are several artificial sources of UV rays made by man. These rays can be found in certain types of lasers, high-intensity discharge lamps, black lights, and more. UV rays can be produced by passing an electric current through certain gasses like vaporized mercury. Some emit only low levels of these rays, while there are others that produce a lot of it like tanning beds.
Sunburn is usually caused by continued exposure to harmful UVB rays. When the body gets overwhelmed by them, it causes a toxic reaction that causes sunburn. On the other hand, a suntan is a result of the body reacting properly to the UVB rays with the pigment called melanin, which is produced by skin cells. It absorbs the UV rays and properly cancels out the heat. This also results in darkening of the skin.
Skin cancer is the result of the skin cells’ DNA mutated by the UV rays. Most of the time, skin cells with this type of mutation would die, but they become cancer cells if they survive and multiply. People who usually get sunburn have a higher risk of getting skin cancer. The deadliest version is called melanoma, which is very rare.
Sunlight may be an important part of our lives right now, but there are certain dangers to it if we have a longer exposure. Always make sure to be undercover or use Jacket sunscreen to prevent unwanted suntan, painful sunburns, or a dangerous skin cancer.