UVA AND UVB

Natural Solutions - - Natural Radiance -

Two types of ul­tra­vi­o­let (UV) rays pen­e­trate the at­mos­phere and can af­fect all parts of the body—from the back of your neck to an ex­posed an­kle to the skin be­neath your shirt. As much as 95 per­cent of UV ra­di­a­tion reach­ing the earth comes from UVA rays, which are less in­tense than UVB rays but 30 to 50 times as preva­lent. UVA rays are present across the coun­try dur­ing all day­light hours through­out the year, with fairly equal in­ten­sity—even when it’s cloudy! UVA are the dom­i­nant tan­ning rays, with in­door tan­ning booths emit­ting UVA in doses as high as 12 times that of the sun.

While UVB rays also con­trib­ute to the tan­ning process, these rays are the pri­mary cause of sun­burn and skin red­den­ing. Although in­ten­sity varies from place to place— and de­pend­ing on time of day—UVB rays hit the US most sig­nif­i­cantly from mid-morn­ing (10 a.m.) to late af­ter­noon (4 p.m.). You can still get sun­burned at high al­ti­tudes through­out the rest of the year, how­ever, as well as on re­flec­tive sur­faces like snow and ice. And both UVA and UVB rays con­trib­ute to some of our worst skin woes, in­clud­ing vis­i­ble signs of ag­ing, pre­ma­ture wrin­kling, and skin cancer.

The most ob­vi­ous way to de­fend against these con­di­tions is to wear sun­screen—but many peo­ple are con­cerned that top­i­cally ap­ply­ing cer­tain for­mu­las, par­tic­u­larly those with chem­i­cals, might do more harm than good. Here are five rea­sons to slather on that lotion as your gear up for sum­mer, as well as our fa­vorite nat­u­ral sun­screens that will pro­tect skin from the out­side in.

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