By Kimber Badertscher, Assistant Grocery Manager, Co-op Owner
It’s officially summer! That means warmer days with more daylight. It also means more exposure of your skin to ultraviolet light. Do you know how to properly protect your skin?
Let’s start by learning about ultraviolet light rays. Ultraviolet light has three primary types: UVA, UVB, and UVC. Each of these three types of UV light are different wavelengths. UVA is the longest and UVC is the shortest. UVA is the most abundant type of ultraviolet light our skin is exposed to naturally. UVB is less abundant as most of its rays are absorbed by our atmosphere. UVC cannot penetrate our atmosphere, therefore, it is not a direct concern for skin exposure.
UVA rays account for 95% of the UV radiation on earth and are present any time the sun is out and can pass through clouds and glass. The amount of UVA rays hitting earth is the same all year. It penetrates the skin all the way to the dermis layer and plays a major role in skin ageing (wrinkles, sun spots). UVA rays also damage cell DNA and are associated with increased risk of skin cancer.
UVB rays are more intense and prevalent from around 10am until 4pm during the spring through fall. They are present at other times but the intensity decreases. UVB is filtered by glass and most cloud cover. The shorter wavelengths do not penetrate the skin as deeply and cause sunburn in as little as 15 minutes of exposure. UVB light helps the body produce vitamin D but is highly linked to skin cancer formation. The effects of UV light are cumulative over time, meaning they build up over our lifetimes and prolonged exposure to UV light can put you at higher risk for certain types of cancer.
Thankfully, it is possible to be outside and enjoy the sunshine without risking your health. Sunscreen provides an easy solution by blocking the UV rays from penetrating your skin. You want to get a sunscreen the is a minimum of SPF 30 and provides broad spectrum coverage. Only broad-spectrum sunscreens block both UVA and UVB rays. It is best to reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours, but more if you are in water. Wearing a wide brimmed hat and good sunglasses can also protect you from UV light, as can UV blocking clothing. Here at GreenTree, we offer a wide variety of sunscreens to protect you this summer so your skin can stay safe while enjoying all the wonderful outdoor activities Michigan has to offer.