What is ultraviolet light?

We know that too much exposure to the sun will harm our skin. That is why Thermalabs has very effective sunless tanners and beach tents available on the market, whose purpose is to give you that natural golden bronze tan without exposing your skin to the ultraviolet light from the sun and protect you from direct sunlight. Whew. That's is a simple lengthy layman's explanation. Let us dig deeper on the nerdy side.

But what is ultraviolet light? As you can recall from high school science that white light consists of different colors; like that of the rainbow. There is light that that human eyes can see, and those that we cannot. If you can recall that prism experiment.

UV (Ultraviolet) Light is the region between visible light and X-rays, with a wavelength between 400 and 10 nanometers. This kind of light is not visible to the human eye due to its shorter wavelength and higher frequency than the light our brain can process.

Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is produced from its high-temperature surface in a continuous spectrum and by atomic excitation in a gaseous discharge tube as a discrete spectrum of wavelengths. Most of the ultraviolet radiation from the sun is absorbed by oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere. The absorption of ultraviolet radiation forms the ozone layer in the lower stratosphere. Of the ultraviolet that does reach Earth’s surface, almost 99 percent is UVA radiation.

Below is a table of other forms of Ultraviolet radiation.

Energy levellowestmediumhighest
Skin cells affectedinner cells in the top layer of skin, including dermiscells in the top layer of skinoutermost cells in the top layer of skin
Short-term effectsimmediate tanning, sunburndelayed tanning, sunburn, blisteringredness, ulcers and lesions, severe burns
Long-term effectspremature aging, wrinkles, some skin cancersskin cancer, can contribute to premature agingskin cancer, premature aging
Sourcesunlight, tanning bedssunlight, tanning bedsUVC lights, mercury lamps, welding torches
% of the sun’s UV rays~95~50 (filtered out by the atmosphere)

Interpreting the table above, here how UVA rays can affect your skin.

  •  UVA is more penetrating than UVB rays, and affect cells deeper in the skin.
  •  Indirect damage to DNA.
  •  Premature aging; fine lines and wrinkles.
  •  UVA are not absorbed by the ozone layer, and 95 percent reaches the ground.
  • UVA can pass through windows and clouds.
  • Causes an immediate tanning effect, and sometimes a sunburn. The effects of UVA rays tend to appear right away.
  • UVA rays are the main type of light used in tanning beds.

Ultraviolet radiation has positive effects on the human body. It stimulates the production of vitamin D and can is used as a therapeutic agent for psoriasis. Falling within the bactericidal wavelength of 260–280 nm, ultraviolet radiation is used as a research tool and for sterilizing. Fluorescent produces ultraviolet radiation to interact with phosphors that emit visible light; compared with incandescent lamps, fluorescent lamps are more energy-efficient.

Ultraviolet has its pros and cons. One this is very clear that we push; to have a more attractive tan, use Thermalabs’ sunless tanners.