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Tanning 101 - UV Rays

Tanning 101 – UV Rays


Article by All Things Tanning

UV Rays – The active ingredient in Sun and Solarium Tanning.

Tanning 101 - UV Rays


Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation (Ultraviolet Light)
The part of sunlight that is invisible to the human eye. Some wavelengths of UV radiation filter through the earth’s atmosphere and enter the body through the skin and eyes. UV radiation can burn the skin and cause melanoma and other types of skin and eye cancers.


Long-wavelength ultraviolet (UV) rays (320 to 400 nm) given off by the sun, tanning beds, and sunlamps. They enter the skin more deeply than UV-B rays, cause premature aging of the skin, and are believed to cause skin cancer. Because UV-A does not cause reddening of the skin (erythema), it is not measured in the usual types of SPF testing. There is no good clinical measurement for blockage of UV-A radiation, but it is important to choose a sunscreen which blocks both UV-A and UV-B. Some scientists blame the absence of UV-A filters in sunscreens for the higher melanoma risk found for sunscreen users. UV-A radiation permeates through glass.


Medium-wavelength (290 to 320 nm) ‘burning rays’ of the sun that are the primary cause of sunburn. They are considered the main cause of basal and squamous-cell carcinoma, as well as a significant cause of melanoma. UV-B rays have an embrowning, pigmentary effect and contribute to formation of Vitamin D in our bodies. UV-B radiation is used for therapeutic radiation treatment. This radiation permeates through the air-space of the Earth but does not permeate through glass.

Tanning 101 - UV Rays


Short-wavelength ultraviolet rays (200 to 290 nm) absorbed by the earth’s ozone layer, which do not reach the earth. UV-C short-wave radiation covers the biggest part of UV radiation. It has a strong antiseptic, bactericidal effect. This wave-length is absorbed by cell-building materials which are shattered at the same time. Artificial production of UV-C has been possible for a long time. These technologies generate UV-C radiation, which can be used to inactivate micro-organisms by destroying DNA. The antiseptic effect of it is used in various ways for disinfecting air, water and different surfaces.


The UV Index tells you on a daily basis the strength of the sun’s ultraviolet rays for the region, and when sun protection measures are required.

Tanning 101 - UV Rays

Reflected UV light is just as damaging as direct UV, with unprotected overexposure.
Water reflects up to 100%
Snow reflects up to 85%
Dry sand and concrete reflect up to 25%
Grass reflects up to 3%


The SunAlert UV icon changes color when it is exposed to dangerous levels of UV rays. When high UV levels are not present, the icon is clear. As UV levels rise, the icon turns pink with medium exposure (at UV index levels 1-3) and red with high exposure (at UV index levels 4+). This first of its kind technology is intended to alert parents, caregivers and people who spend a great deal of time exposed to the sun if UV rays have reached levels that may be harmful to you or your family. Keep in mind UV rays on cloudy days are extremely hard to detect. The SunAlert indicator is available on apparel and accessories for children, teens, adults and pets, in order to protect every member of the family from the dangers of sun overexposure.

VIDEO: SunAlert by LuvGear


Ultraviolet radiation has medical applications, in the treatment of skin conditions such as psoriasis (see figure below) and vitiligo. UV-A radiation has been much used in conjunction with psoralens (PUVA treatment) for psoriasis, although this treatment is less used now because the combination produces dramatic increases in skin cancer, and because treatment with UV-B radiation by itself is more effective. In cases of psoriasis and vitiligo, UV light with a wavelength of 311 nm is most effective.

Tanning 101 - UV Rays


Vintage newspaper article from 1931.

Tanning 101 - UV Rays

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