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Your Skin and the Sun

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Sunlight consists of two types of ultraviolet rays: UVA and UVB. Of these two, UVA rays are the most harmful, penetrating deep into the dermis layer of the skin, damaging collagen fibers in the skin and causing signs of premature aging. UVA is thought to be primarily responsible for melanoma skin cancer. Unlike UVA rays, UVB rays do not penetrate as deeply into the skin and are easily blocked. UVB rays are actually an important source of vitamin D, which is generated in the skin during sunlight exposure. Avoiding sun exposure and using sunscreens can lead to a vitamin D deficiency. On the other hand, too much exposure can lead to sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer. Tanning is the skin's own built in defense against UV overexposure. When the skin detects UV radiation, it prompts the release of the brown pigment melanin, which absorbs the radiation and dissipates the energy as heat. Full sunscreen coverage can actually block certain wavelengths of light that trigger this natural body defense. Therefore, appropriate sun exposure can actually help prevent skin cancer. Read More...
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