UV rays and Skin Cancer

Why ultraviolet rays can cause skin cancer

Many people enjoy staying under the sun either for a walk or to indulge in recreational activities during summer time. Exposure to sunlight can give positive contributions to the body for it has Vitamin D that can help develop stronger bones. However, research shows that overexposure to the ultraviolet radiation (UV) where the sun is the main source is dangerous for the skin – it can cause skin cancer.

Different types of UV rays

According to the American Cancer Society, there are three kinds of UV rays that can damage the skin and lead to skin cancer.

UVA rays

– UVA is the highest UV radiation reaching the surface of the earth for it comprises 95 percent of UV radiation but it is less intense than UVB radiation. UVA penetrates the skin deeply and is the one related to the aging of the skin and wrinkling. It does not cause a significant damaged to the epidermis of the skin, where skin cancer occurs, but it is believed that people with more freckles and wrinkles are more prone to skin cancer when overexposed to the dangerous rays of the sun.

UVB rays

– UVB rays are more intense and are likely to penetrate the atmosphere because of the retreating ozone layer. UVB is also very active during the summer period and is the main cause of sunburns and skin cancer for it can damage the DNA’s skin cells directly.

UVC rays

– UVC rays don’t transcend in the atmosphere and it is not a cause of skin cancer unlike UVB.

Among the three types of UV rays, UVB is the primary cause of skin cancers because it can damage the skin and can cause sunburns. Suffering from a sunburn means that the DNA in the skin cells was damaged due to excessive exposure to UV radiation which makes the skin more prone to cancer. If DNA damage continuous to rise, cells will start growing and can later on lead to skin cancer.

Other causes of skin cancer

Aside from over exposure to sunlight which is the main source of damaging UV rays, there are also artificial sources of UV rays that can damage the skin.


Studies revealed that using tanning beds as alternative to outdoor tanning increases the risk of skin cancer because the UV rays produced can be 10 to 15 times higher than what the sun produces.

Types of skin cancer

There are various types if skin cancer that can be acquired. Basal and squamous cell skin cancers are the most common type of cancer. The more serious one but rare is the Melanoma. Both types can be acquired by too much sun exposure and sunburn brought by the under the sun activities of people such as; outdoor tanning, wearing a swimsuit and watersports.

UV rays of the sun may not be seen by the naked eye but can likely develop a serious disease in the body. But no worries, the sun could still be enjoyed by following precautionary measures to keep the skin protected because more than anything else skin safety should remain a priority.

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