What is UV index?

Want to know what UV rays are and where to get it from? Well, UV rays are short for ultra-violet rays which is emitted by the sun. UV is one of the electromagnetic waveforms. These waves come in different frequencies and wavelengths. Collectively, all the wavelengths are broadly called electromagnetic spectrums.

UV index

UV index is like a scale. There are numbers placed, ranging from one to eleven plus. One being the lowest to eleven being the highest on it.

Types of UV rays

UV rays are divided into four categories

  • UVA
  • UVB
  • UVC

Amongst the three, UVA has the longest wavelengths, with UVB and UVC which have the shortest wavelengths. UVA and UVB mediate through the atmosphere. Some UVB and all of the UVC passed through from the sun towards the earth is absorbed by the ozone layer. So, whatever we get, is mostly UVA and some UVB.

UVB Rays with shorter wavelength has the ability to reach the outer layer (epidermis) of the skin.

UVA rays penetrate deeper because of their longer wavelength.

What UV Index is Best for Tanning?

Moderate UV index best for tanning lies between index three to five.  The higher you go, the more your skin will get prone to burning.  The best way to protect the skin is to minimize the exposure time in the sun along with the use of sunscreen lotions.

Why do we tan?

To get a suntan you need to get exposure of the UV rays. In order for the skin to tan, it needs to get both UVA and UVB rays. UVA reaches the pigment already inside the cells to darken it, that pigment is melanin. On the other hand, UVB triggers the skin to make more pigment inside.

Risks of tanning

You may feel happy about soaking all the sun goodness in, but in reality, this has more risks than benefits involved.

  • Skin cancer is one of the major issues linked to exposure of sun. the DNA in the skin may get damaged due to UV rays which can result in melanoma
  • Loss of water or dehydration is one of the most pressing concerns of the people opting for sunbathing. Dehydration to a greater extent can leads to loss of consciousness.
  • Sunburn
  • Heat rash is a common skin condition, that causes irritation, redness and itching.
  • Skin ageing
  • Eye damage

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