Ultraviolet Radiation From The Sun

The sun emits radiation, consisting of electromagnetic rays including ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB). This ultraviolet radiation has many effects on you.

On one hand, sun exposure is responsible for some powerful health benefits, including catalyzing the production of Vitamin D in your body. Sunlight has also been shown to improve the symptoms of depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder and—correlated with optimal Vitamin D levels—may also positively affect many other adverse physical and mental conditions and even help prevent some cancers.

On the other hand, exposure to the sun’s radiation, especially UVA and UVB rays, damages human tissue such as your skin and eyes, causes sunburn and premature aging, induces inflammation, and suppresses the immune system. The longer skin tissue is exposed to sunlight, the greater the damage. In fact, nothing ages your skin more than sunlight.

Overexposure to the sun is known to:

  • Cause sunburn
  • Result in free-radical damage to cells
  • Break down the collagen and elastin in your skin
  • Lead to premature skin aging, wrinkles, and sunspots
  • Induce inflammation
  • Trigger immunosuppression (decreased effectiveness of the immune system)
  • Mutate DNA and increase the chances of developing skin cancer

For further information on the following topics related to ultraviolet radiation, expand the respective sections below:

Skin Damage

Both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B radiation damage your skin, but the primary method by which they do their damage is different. UVB radiation (which is higher energy and has a shorter wavelength than UVA) does the majority of its damage directly to your DNA. When UVB radiation strikes a... More


Color in your skin is primarily attributed to melanin. The more melanin present, the darker your skin. Your body produces melanin in specialized cells called melanocytes. When UVB radiation damages the DNA in melanocytes, creating pyrimidine dimers, melanocytes are triggered to increase their production of melanin. This melanin is released... More

Vitamin D Production

Ultraviolet B radiation, especially between the wavelengths of 295-297nm, is able to stimulate the production of Vitamin D in your skin. When UVB rays at these wavelengths hit a molecule called 7-dehydrocholesterol (a molecule that would otherwise eventually be converted into cholesterol in the body), it causes the conversion of... More

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