UV and the Skin

Ultraviolet (UV) light is invisible light that radiates from the sun and can also be created by some artificial sources in the workplace

  • Moderate exposure of UV light is essential for a healthy life:
    • Stimulates our metabolism
    • Increases oxygen levels in the cells
    • Boosts the immune system
    • Important in producing Vitamin D, essential for building strong bones & teeth
  • Human skin contains a pigment called melanin which helps block the damaging UV that penetrates our skin.
  • Larger doses UV light can damage our skin, producing burns, premature skin aging, wrinkling, cell mutations and even skin cancer.
  • To help protect the skin from excessive UV light exposure, it is recommended that people apply a physical barrier measures to block the UV and to apply sunscreen.

Types of UV

UVA - Accounts for up to 95% of the UV radiation reaching the Earth's surface. UVA penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB causing skin cancer and wrinkling/ premature aging.

UVB - Can do more damage more quickly than UVA rays; because of its damaging affect to the DNA of skin cells, UVB radiation is the main cause of sunburn and skin cancer.

UVC – Whilst UVC created by the sun is blocked by the ozone layer; UVC is still created artificially during some workplace processes, such as arc welding. Exposure to UVC causes reddening, irritation, skin burns and potentially skin cancer.


Dangers of UV

The Risks

Short term

Skin damage from the sun

You should check your skin frequently for signs of skin cancer.


Long Term

Issues such as skin cancer

You should check your skin frequently for signs of skin cancer

Be UV aware

The UV index is a global standard adopted by the World Health Organisation for measuring solar UV levels and advising when sun protection measures are required.

LOW: UV 1-2 

No protection required

You can safely stay outside


Protection required:
Wear a shirt, sunscreen, a hat & sunglasses


  • Extra protection required
  • Avoid being outside during midday hours
  • Make sure you seek shade
  • Shirt, sunscreen, glasses and a hat are a must







To check today's UV level in your area, click here for the Met Office website

Best Practise for UV Protection

Best Practice for UV protection involves the ‘5-S’ approach: