UV rays always have an effect on our skin, even if the strength of the sun is not constantly perceived to be strong. The cold and the clouds make us underestimate the intensity of solar radiation. Even if the sky is overcast, up to 80% of UV rays can penetrate through the cloud cover. Light surfaces such as snow, ice, sand, cement or water, reflect UV rays, intensifying their effect.
The forms of UV rays and their effects on our skin
UV rays (ultraviolet rays) are divided into UVA, UVB and UVC.
- The UVA (95%) penetrate into the deep layers of the skin, even through the windows. They cause an immediate superficial tan, make the skin grow old and can also cause a sudden solar allergy, not to mention the fact that they damage the genome of skin cells and can increase the risk of skin cancer.
- The UVB rays (5%) penetrate the surface of the skin, but not through the windows. Also in this case the risk of skin cancer and cell damage are greater. Even if the tan is less evident, it is possible to burn yourself.
- UVC rays are absorbed by the atmosphere and do not reach the earth’s surface.
The intensity of the UV rays is not always the same everywhere
In the countries of the south and in the mountains the intensity of the UV rays is greater than that of the Swiss plateau. In the mountains, UV rays are more intense with increasing altitude. In the presence of snow or water, up to 90% of the rays are reflected, almost doubling the effect.
November to February
UV rays in the plateau are weak and normally there is no need for sun protection. Instead, those who spend time in the mountains must absolutely protect themselves from the sun’s rays.
March and April
After the winter days, short and cold, in spring we can not wait to enjoy some sun, but moderate temperatures make us underestimate the intensity of the sun’s rays. In fact, in spring, it is absolutely necessary to protect the skin, even if the temperatures are still low.
From May to August
In these months the UV rays are particularly intense and the skin needs a good protection: you must therefore have appropriate clothing and stay in the shade. Especially in the hours around noon (11 – 15) you have to reduce your stay in the sun.
September and October
Even in autumn, as in spring, moderate temperatures make us underestimate the intensity of UV rays. On sunny days, during the hours around noon, it is best to stay in the shade.
Effects of the sun
- Tanning of the skin through UVA, delayed tanning through UVB.
- A burn is an acute dermatitis due to excessive UVB rays. The first signs of redness indicate that the maximum permissible dose of UV has already been exceeded. If the sunburn hurts or if blisters appear, contact your doctor and avoid exposure to the sun until complete recovery.
- Allergy to the sun is the most common skin irritation. It often affects young women and comes in the form of small itchy bladders on the neck, in the upper part of the breastbone, on the back and on the forearms. The symptoms occur a few hours after a long exposure to the sun and disappear after a few days.
- Eye injury: inflammation of the cornea (photokeratitis) and conjunctiva (photonjunctivitis). In the long term, the lens of the eye can become opaque (cataract).
- Up to 90% of all visible signs of aging of the skin can be traced back to the harmful effect of the sun’s rays.
- DNA chain breaks. There is a repair mechanism, but it can not eliminate all damage. If the repair capacity of the skin is exhausted, a skin tumor may form, caused by intense and frequent exposure to UV rays. According to a study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, countries like Croatia, Belarus and Switzerland are the most affected.