Effects Of Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation On Health

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Today with the development in industry, the increasing environmental pollution makes the ozone layer that protects the earth thinner. Since then, the amount of UV radiation emitted by the sun has been increasing and more negatively affecting human health. Therefore, measures of protecting yourself from UV rays should be taken into consideration. 

uv radiation

What is ultraviolet radiation?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of non-ionizing radiation that is emitted by the sun and artificial sources, including tanning beds; mercury vapor lighting (often found in stadiums and school gyms); some halogen, fluorescent, and incandescent lights; some types of lasers.

Types of UV radiation

There are three main types of UV radiation rays:


UVA rays (wavelengths of 315-399nm): are the lowest energy among UV rays. These rays can cause skin cells to age and cause some indirect damage to DNA cells. UVA rays mainly damage long-term skin such as wrinkles and can also cause some skin cancers.


UVB rays (wavelengths 280-314nm): have higher energies than UVA rays. They can directly damage the DNA in skin cells and are a major cause of sunburn. They are also thought to be a factor in most skin cancers.


UVC rays (wavelength 100-279nm): react to the ozone layer in the atmosphere and cannot reach the ground, so they are usually not a risk factor for skin cancer. They can come from a number of artificial sources such as arc welding lamps, mercury lamps, UV disinfection bulbs (used to kill bacteria, other germs in water, air, food).

Health effects of UV radiation 

Skin cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer.  The main types of skin cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma. UV (ultraviolet) radiation, which is found in sunshine and tanning bed lights, causes a lot of DNA damage in skin cells. 

Common signs of skin cancer include:

  • Ulcer
  • A lump
  • Red patches on your skin
  • Freckles or moles

Skin aging and damage 

Premature aging is caused by long-term sunlight exposure, which can cause the skin to become thick, wrinkled, and leathery. Ultraviolet rays have the ability to destroy collagen and connective tissue beneath the top layer of the skin, causing wrinkles, brown spots, and loss of skin elasticity. The difference between skin tone, wrinkles, or pigmentation on the underside and the top on the same arm indicates the effect of the sun on the skin. Sunburned skin may look fine in the present, but later the skin will wrinkle, or even cause skin cancer.

uv radiation


Overexposure to UV radiation has an inhibitory effect on the immune system. Scientists believe that sunburn can alter the distribution and function of white blood cells in humans within 24 hours of sun exposure. This condition is repeated too much with UV radiation that can cause more serious damage to the body’s immune system.

Eyes damage 

Long-term exposure to ultraviolet rays or the high intensity of ultraviolet rays damages tissues, causing burns on the surface of the eye, known as snow blindness or photokeratitis.

  • UVA: Due to the passage through the ozone layer, the amount of UVA radiation is the most at 97%. UVA penetrates the cornea, enters the lens, retina, if exposed for too long will lead to macular degeneration and cataracts.
  • UVB rays are almost completely absorbed by the cornea. However, UVB still causes corneal diseases such as photokeratitis, pterygium, and pinguecula.
  • UVC rays, which are retained by the ozone layer, have the ability to cause damage to the eyes. Nowadays due to many impacts, the ozone layer is thinning. That is the reason why there are places where they can penetrate and affect human health.

Measures of UV prevention

Use sunscreen 

The habit of using sunscreen can help you fight UVA and UVB rays from skin damage. The SPF in sunscreen is the level of protection from damage caused by UVB rays, choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.

An SPF of 15 can be understood that your skin if not protected in the sun will take 20 minutes to start redness. When you use SPF 15 sunscreen, the time of redness is 15 times longer than when you do not use the cream which means about 5 hours.

Sunscreens come in a variety of forms, including lotions, creams, ointments, gels, sprays, wipes, and lip balms.

uv radiation

Wear protective clothing

Wear clothing that covers your skin when you’re out in the sun. UV protection is provided in various levels by clothing. The skin is covered and protected most by long-sleeved shirts, long pants, or long skirts. Darker colors offer greater protection than lighter colors. Tightly knit clothing is more protective than loosely woven garments. A dry cloth is often more protective than fabric.

UV-blocking sunglasses are essential for both the sensitive skin around the eyes and the eyes themselves. According to studies, spending long periods of time in the sun without wearing sunglasses increases your risk of developing certain eye illnesses.

Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps

The use of tanning beds has been related to an increased risk of melanoma, particularly if it begins before the age of 30. The majority of doctors and health organizations advise against using tanning beds and sun lamps.

Limit sun exposure

Sunburns and suntans cause skin damage and increase your risk of developing skin cancer. UV rays have the strongest intensity between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m, which means you should limit your exposure to this time. Avoiding the sun at its strongest helps you avoid sunburns and suntans that cause skin damage and increase your risk of developing skin cancer.

Healthy diet

You should avoid eating a lot of sour, sweet, greasy foods. At the same time, you should add potassium-rich vegetables such as vegetables, jute vegetables. You should also eat vitamin-rich fruits such as strawberries, oranges, apples, and bananas. It is both good for health and protects the skin.

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