It is important to learn a little bit about UV rays if you are going to protect yourself, and even your home, from the harmful UV radiation exposure can do. First, different types of rays emit from ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is a form of electromagnetic energy, in sunlight. You probably mostly hear about UVA and UVB rays because of their effect on your skin. In this article, we are going to help you better understand what you can do to minimize your risk and limit the damage. Let’s look more into these topics and also answer the question, “When are UV rays the strongest?”
Understanding UV Rays and Radiation
UV radiation can come from natural and artificial sources. Sunlight is the most common and familiar natural source of light that most people are familiar with. Tanning beds, lasers, and black lights are artificial sources. Of these electromagnetic energy sources, the sun is the most significant.
There are three classifications of UV rays – see a comparison below.
|Levels of Energy||Lowest (longest wavelength)||Medium (medium wavelength)||Highest (shortest wavelength)|
|Sources||Sunlight, tanning beds||Sunlight, tanning beds||UVC lights, mercury lamps|
|Skin Affected||Top layer of skin’s inner cells that includes dermis||Top layer of skin cells||Top layer of skin’s outermost cells|
|Short-term conditions||Sunburn, immediate tanning||Sunburn blistering, delayed tanning||Ulcers, redness, severe burns|
|Long-term conditions||Premature aging, some skin cancers, wrinkles||Skin cancer, potentially contribute to premature aging||Premature aging, Skin cancer|
Important facts you should know about UVA rays include:
- They can penetrate through clouds and unprotected windows;
- They are the main type of light that’s used for tanning beds; and
- They account for 95 percent of the rays that reach the ground.
UVB light is present year-around, similar to UVA rays, but it is more common in sunny climates. Sand, water, and snow all reflect UVB lights. Higher altitudes increase UVB’s light damaging potential.
The earth’s ozone layer filters out UVC rays, so luckily they never make it to the ground.
UV Ray Strength Depends On Environmental Factors
The season of the year is one of the key factors in how powerful UV rays are. The spring and summer months have the highest UV exposure because the sun’s UV ray intensity is greater due to the sun being at a higher angle. You will still experience this effect by the sun during the fall and winter months, though it will not be as powerful.
Time of Day
UV exposure is at its highest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. because the sun’s rays don’t have to travel as far during this window, which makes them more powerful.
Latitude and longitude are among the geographical factors that also affect the strength of UV rays. Areas that are located near or on the equator are where UV exposure is the highest. There is less distance for these rays to travel to reach the ground in these areas. Places where there are higher elevations, such as mountains, also have stronger UV rays due to the shorter distance they have to travel.
Protecting Yourself from UV Exposure
Increased time of exposure to UV rays will increase the risk of skin damage. If you work outside, have outdoor recreational activities, or live in areas with bright, year-round sunlight, your risk is increased. Genetics is an additional risk factor to consider.
In Your Home or Office:
- Add window film – an effective way to filter out harmful rays without blocking the light entirely
- Add blinds – highly effective although it also obscures the view
- Avoid using sunlamps and tanning beds
- Wear sunglasses, ideally wraparound or large-frame glasses that can protect more of the skin around your eyes;
- Wear a hat with a 2-3 inch brim;
- Wear Sunscreen
- Wear a long-sleeve shirt;
- Consider sun-protective clothing
- Stay in the shade
Call the UV Film Experts for Home Coverage
95 percent of the rays that reach the ground will penetrate through your windows, exposing you and your family to these harmful UVA rays. Blocking or filtering the sun’s harmful rays is a highly effective way to protect yourself and your home.
Window film is highly effective blocking 99 percent or more of harmful UV rays.
Protect your home and family against harmful UV rays with help from the experts at Atlantic Sun Control. Call 703-687-0154.