The Dangers of UV Radiation: Is All UV Radiation Bad? - Revised

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of energy that comes from the sun and other sources such as tanning beds. Overexposure to UV radiation can have serious health consequences including skin cancer, premature aging, and eye damage.

The Dangers of UV Radiation: Is All UV Radiation Bad? - Revised

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of energy that comes from the sun and other sources, such as tanning beds. It is invisible to the human eye, but it can have serious health consequences if we are overexposed to it. UVA rays are the weakest, but they can still cause skin cells to age faster. UVB rays are slightly stronger and can cause sunburn and skin cancer.

The sun's UVC rays react with ozone and don't reach the ground. The ozone layer is a natural shield that protects us from the sun's harmful UV radiation. Unfortunately, the depletion of the ozone layer has reduced our atmosphere's protection against UV radiation, making it more important than ever to understand the risks of overexposure and take sensible precautions to protect ourselves. Every year, more new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States than all other types of cancer combined.

In fact, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives, and an American dies of skin cancer every hour. Unprotected exposure to UV radiation is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. Other UV-related skin disorders include actinic keratosis and premature skin aging. Actinic keratoses are skin growths that occur in areas of the body exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, forearms, and the “V” of the neck.

Although they are premalignant, actinic keratoses are a risk factor for squamous cell carcinoma. Chronic sun exposure also causes premature aging, which over time can cause skin to become thick, wrinkled, and leathery. Cataracts are a form of eye injury in which a loss of transparency in the lens of the eye clouds vision. If left untreated, cataracts can cause blindness. Research has shown that UV radiation increases the likelihood of certain cataracts.

While they can be cured with modern eye surgery, cataracts diminish the sight of millions of Americans and cost billions of dollars in healthcare each year. Other types of eye damage include pterygium (tissue growth that can block vision), skin cancer around the eyes, and degeneration of the macula (the part of the retina where visual perception is sharpest). All of these problems can be reduced with adequate eye protection. Scientists have also found that overexposure to UV radiation can inhibit the proper functioning of the body's immune system and the skin's natural defenses. For example, the skin normally mounts a defense against foreign invaders, such as cancer and infections.

However, overexposure to UV radiation can weaken the immune system and reduce the skin's ability to protect itself against these invaders. Everyone needs some exposure to the sun to produce vitamin D (which helps with calcium absorption for stronger bones). However, unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or tanning beds can damage your skin, eyes, and immune system. There are other contributing factors such as heredity and environment; however, sunburn and excessive exposure to UV light damage are preventable with adequate protection. Look for sunglasses or eyeglasses that offer 99-100% UV protection if you wear them. Wear protective clothing when you're outside for extended periods of time or if you work in an environment where you may be exposed to artificial sources of UV rays.

With adequate protection against UV radiation, most premature skin aging can be prevented. It is important to understand how dangerous overexposure to UV radiation can be for our health and take steps to protect ourselves from its effects. Wearing protective clothing and sunglasses with 99-100% UV protection when outdoors is essential for reducing our risk of developing serious health problems caused by UV radiation.

Darrel Olivares
Darrel Olivares

Hardcore zombie specialist. Typical tv guru. Bacon enthusiast. Hipster-friendly web practitioner. Certified web geek.

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