Vegas is known for triple digit temperatures that make all of us wear a little less clothing. Whether we’re in sundresses or bathing suits, we are taking off the clothes, hanging out at the pool, playing at Lake Mead, or sitting outside on the patio of our favorite restaurants.
We have been told for years to wear sunblock because being in the SUN can cause skin cancer. Yet, we still strive for that golden glow known as the “perfect tan.”
So what does Ultra-Violet and Infra-Red radiation do? Where do they come from? What can we do to protect ourselves? The electromagnetic waves emitted by the sun, that reach the earth, are known as The Solar Spectrum. This includes UV, visible light and IR Radiation. UVA, UVB, UVC are only 7% of this spectrum; visible light is 39% and infrared is 54%.
UVA ages the skin cells and can damage their DNA structure. They are linked to long-term skin damage and cause wrinkles. Sunlight is the main source of all UV rays, but tanning beds emit large amounts, increasing the risk of skin cancers. The regular use of tanning beds can quadruple your risk of getting melanoma, the most deadly skin cancer. The UV light used to cure your gel manicures emits low doses of type A radiation. After research in 2009, it was determined to be a minimal risk. Doctors assure us that any exposure is a risk.
UVB are the rays that cause sunburns. They can directly damage the skin cells’ DNA, which is the cause of most skin cancers. The main source of UVB is sunlight, but some tanning beds also emit UVB. Other long term effects of too much sun are pre-mature signs of aging; wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity, brown spots (solar lentigoes), pre-cancerous skin lesions, and even cataracts. The UV Index was developed to let us know how strong the sun is on any given day. This helps us to take better precautions against those damaging rays. UVC rays are not in sunlight and do not reach the earth.
If UVA & UVB weren’t enough for us to worry about, we now have Infra-Red Radiation, which is heat. Any objects that are warm or hot – ovens, hair dryers, radiators, heat packs, concrete sidewalks, asphalt in the parking lots, the inside of our cars! You are exposed to IRA dozens of times a day – sitting out by the pool, walking across the parking lot, or driving across town. There are three different types of infrared radiation – A-penetrates the skin the deepest, B-affects epidermal layers, and C-reflects at the skin surface. IRA penetrates deeper than UVA & UVB. Studies show that IRA leads to breakdown of dermal collagen fibers and contributes to skin aging prematurely.
How do we protect ourselves? Stay out of the sun when the UV index is high. Stay out of tanning beds that emit high levels of UVA & UVB. Remember, “if you can see the sun, the sun can see you” – and more importantly, can shine its lovely rays on you. Use a good sunblock on a regular basis. Use sunblock on your hands during the manicure or white cotton gloves with the finger tips cut off. That way you can get the great nails and reduce your exposure to the UV. SUNBLOCK & ANTIOXIDANTS!!! Studies show that good sunblock will protect against UV damage, but it takes antioxidants like vitamin C to protect against IR damage. There are some excellent skin care products and treatments available today that will repair the existing damage and protect you from future damage.
Call our office for more information at 702-360-6686.