UVA vs UVB: Your Top 5 Sun Damage Skin Care Questions, Answered

UVA vs UVB: Your Top 5 Sun Damage Skin Care Questions, Answered

Summer is here! While that means lazy days in the sun for some, we encourage you to protect your skin from the sun's damaging UV rays all year long.

Did you know that there is more than one type of UV radiation that can harm your skin? The science of sun damage can be confusing, but we're here to help. Here are answers to the top five questions we hear from our patients regarding sun damage and skin care.

Where do UV rays come from?

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is part of the light spectrum that reaches earth from the sun. While you can see the visible light emitted by the sun, UV light is invisible to the naked eye. But just because you can't see it doesn't make it any less dangerous to your skin.

How do UV rays affect my skin?

Invisible UV rays penetrate the earth's atmosphere, but when they penetrate your skin they can cause lasting damage. Both UVA and UVB rays contribute to the development of skin cancers as well as premature skin aging. Excessive exposure to harmful UV rays can produce genetic mutations that can lead to skin cancers, including melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.

Not only do UV rays harm your skin, they can also damage other parts of your body. UV radiation can cause eye damage such as cataracts, and it can even suppress your immune system's ability to fight off these effects.

What's the difference between UVA and UVB?

Long wave ultraviolet A (UVA) rays are the longest wavelength of ultraviolet rays that reach the earth from the sun. UVA rays penetrate deep down and can reach the dermis, the thickest layer of your skin.

Short wave ultraviolet B (UVB) rays typically only reach the skin's surface. If you've ever been sunburned, you are already intimately familiar with the harmful effects of UVB rays. UVB rays are often more intense during summer and between peak daylight hours from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., but they can cause damage all year round, especially at high altitudes or in places where the sun reflects from ice or snow.

Which UV rays are most harmful?

Both UVA and UVB rays can be harmful if you are exposed to too much UV radiation over time. UVA rays reach the deepest layers of your skin and can damage skin cells, leading to the development of skin cancers. UVB rays, which are primarily responsible for sunburn, also damage the top layers of your skin. Damage from UVB rays is a leading cause of skin cancer. In short, both types of UV radiation can be extremely harmful to your skin.

How can I prevent and repair sun damage?

The most important thing you can do to prevent skin cancer and damage from UV rays is to wear sunscreen and protective clothing year-round. Our Solar Defender SPF 30 Sunscreen protects against both aging UVA and burning UVB rays. This gentle, water-resistant formula goes on sheer and is invisible in seconds, making it the perfect solution for everyday wear.

Soothing Gel Masque For Moisture Relief - Skin Resource MD

On the rare occasion you have been sunburned, our Soothing Gelle Masque will provide hours of relief within minutes of application. This soothing skin mask calms, soothes and moisturizes irritated skin, whether it is sunburned, wind chapped, or simply dehydrated.

Dermatologist-Formulated Sun Damaged Skin Treatments

Our board-certified, practicing dermatologists have been formulating and recommending skin care products for more than 75 combined years. We have developed effective sun damage treatments that utilize vitamins and antioxidants to both soothe and restore your skin.


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Protecting your skin from the sun's damaging UV rays all year long is essential. Keep your skin healthy and safe with these skincare tips.

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