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Forecast: Sunny. Tip: Handle with care

What is UV Radiation? | Solar Power Nation

Soak in the goodness of sunshine while protecting yourself

While the benefits of the sun are manifold, there is no denying the fact that too much exposure to the rays of the sun can have adverse effects on the skin. A sunburn is a common after-effect after an over exposure of the sun. So, even as you soak in the sun for that Vitamin D, it is important to protect your skin from the harmful Ultraviolet (UV) rays. 

Australia is a country with one of the highest levels of UV exposure, leading to the highest rates of skin issues in the world. To protect its citizens from the damaging effects of UV radiation, the local weather bureau regularly forecasts sun protection times via their apps and other mediums.  

When the UV Index is 3 and above, it is considered as a time to take protective measures against the sun, like using sunscreen or staying indoors. 

What is UV radiation?

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a kind of energy produced by the sun and some artificial sources like arc welders and solariums. Unlike the sun’s heat which you can feel, UV radiation is an energy one cannot see or feel. The sun’s UV is the main cause of skin cancer. High exposure to UV rays can also lead to sunburn, tanning, premature ageing and eye damage. 

Ironically, perhaps not as high as on a summer day, but UV radiation is present in substantial amounts even on even cold days when the sky is clear. Don’t even start thinking that you are protected by the invisible rays when the sky is cloudy. UV rays can penetrate through cloud cover too, provided it is not too thick. UV levels are affected by factors like geographic location, altitude, time of day, time of year and cloud cover.

Types of UV Radiation

UV radiation can be classified into three different types: 

  1. Ultraviolet A (UVA)
  2. Ultraviolet B (UVB)
  3. Ultraviolet C (UVC)

While UVA can trigger sunburn, cell damage in the skin and skin related issues, UVB too is responsible of causing skin damage. Of the three, UVC is the most harmful as all of it is absorbed by the ozone layer, preventing it from reaching the earth’s surface.

Understanding UV Index

Simply put, the UV index is a tool that prompts you to protect yourself from the UV radiation. The Index divides the UV radiation levels into low, moderate, high, very high and extreme levels, where 1 – 2 is low; 3 – 5 is moderate; 6 – 7 is high; 8 – 10 very high and anything above 11 is considered extreme. 

Protect your skin

It is quite clear that whether it is sunny or cold, you need to protect yourself from UV radiation throughout the year. However, it is more crucial to yourself when the sun is at its peak. 

Here are some things you can do to protect your skin:

  • Seek some shade:  Keep an umbrella handy, avoid long exposure to the sun and try to remain sheltered as far as possible. 
  • Slip on Protective Clothing: Clothes with long sleeves and full-length pants can go a long way in providing protection from UV rays. It is said that darker coloured clothes are better than lighter colours when it comes to the impact of UV rays. There are also some special UV protection clothes in the market!
  • Slop some sunscreen: Use a chemical-free sunscreen to protect your skin from any sunburn. A sunscreen needs to be re-applied every 3 hours or as frequently needed if you are out in the sun.
  • Slide on sunglasses: Protect your eyes and the area around them by making a habit of wearing dark glasses.
  • Slap on a hat: Cover your head with a wide-brimmed hat that offers shade to your entire face, ears, and the back of the neck.

With these tips, you can ensure you are protected in the sun. So step out and enjoy the warmth of the sun rays soaking in your skin. 

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