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.