UVA, UVB, UVC Rays: Learn the Difference

March 28, 2020

When it comes to skin aging, you probably know that prolonged sun exposure can speed up its process. This is due to the damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which contributes to the rapid breakdown of collagen. It can cause the skin to age prematurely with the appearance of lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation.

Difference-UVA-UVB-UVC- Rays

This only makes it important to protect or shield your skin from the UV rays. It is also a good idea to raise your awareness about UV radiation, which has three different types: UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. Continue reading to learn more about types of UV rays and how they can damage your skin.

UVA Rays

These rays have the longest wavelengths, but lower energy than other types of UV rays. UVA rays account for about 95% of UV rays that reach the earth. Compared to other types, UVA rays are more penetrating and cause damage to skin cells. They can also contribute to premature aging, with visible effects like lines and wrinkles.

Here are a few other facts about UVA rays:

  • Can penetrate the dermis or middle layer of the skin
  • Used in tanning beds
  • Can penetrate clouds and windows
  • Associated with skin damage and some types of skin cancers

UVB Rays

These rays have shorter wavelengths than UVA rays, but have higher energy levels. The ozone filters the majority of the UVB rays; they only account for about 5% of UV rays that reach the ground. These directly damage your skin’s DNA and affect the outermost layer of the skin.

Other things you should know about UVB rays include:

  • Can penetrate epidermis or outermost layer of the skin
  • Cause most skin cancers
  • Prolonged exposure can result in sunburns
  • Can burn unprotected skin as quickly as 15 minutes
  • Don’t penetrate windows (filtered by clouds)

UVC Rays

These have the shortest wavelength of all UV rays and the most damaging. The good news is UVC rays never reach the earth’s surface; the atmosphere completely filters them. UVC rays are mostly available through artificial sources like mercury lamps and welding torches. 

Here are a few other facts about UVC rays:

  • Not considered a risk for skin cancer
  • Commonly found in man-made sources
  • Considered harmless (as they don’t reach the earth’s surface)

Protecting yourself

Both UVA and UVB rays have the biggest potential to damage your skin. Prolonged and unprotected exposure to these UV rays damages the DNA of your skin cells. This then triggers genetic mutations that can result in premature aging and skin cancers. They can also contribute to eye problems like cataracts and macular degeneration. 

Here are a few measures for protecting yourself against the UV rays:

  • Wear sunscreen daily – Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day.
  • Avoid tanning – Both indoor and outdoor tanning can damage your skin and contribute to premature aging.
  • Limit your sun exposure – This is especially true in peak hours or when UV rays are the strongest, between 10am and 4pm.
  • Wear protective clothing – Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts whenever possible. You should also consider a brimmed hat and UV protective sunglasses.
  • Seek shade – This is particularly helpful when UV rays are the most intense. You should seek shade when your shadow is shorter, as this means you’re getting higher levels of UV radiation. 

Improving the effects of sun damage

If you already notice lines, sunspots, and other signs of sun damage, you can consider aesthetic treatments. Here at Cutis Laser Clinics in Singapore, we offer a number of nonsurgical procedures that can help improve the effects of sun damage.

Limelight IPL – This uses a US FDA-cleared “intense pulsed light” (IPL) technology. It draws out the brown spots on the skin and turns them darker. They will then scab and flake off after a few days, revealing brighter complexion. Limelight IPL is ideal for freckles, brown spots, and uneven complexion. 

Pearl Procedure – It uses pulses of laser light, which removes a portion of the skin’s sun damaged surface. This triggers the skin to form a protective dressing, which peels off after three to five days. This reveals brighter skin, with a pearly glow. Pearl Procedure can help with acne marks, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation.

VI Peel – This chemical peel treatment targets the skin at the right depth to improve its tone and texture. It features an optimal blend of clinically proven ingredients to treat a range of skin issues. These include fine lines, acne marks, pigmentation, freckles, and brown spots. 

Don’t let UV rays damage your skin and make you look older. Follow the sun protection measures listed above and consider aesthetic treatments. Contact Cutis Laser Clinics in Singapore today and schedule a consultation with our aesthetic doctor to find out if you’re a good candidate for these procedures.