Friday, July 5, 2013

Suncare 101: UVA and UVB Rays

Hello, lovelies~ It’s time for another post with yours truly about skincare and some other stuff that is kinda related to it. lol. I’ve seen some confusion about the UV rays that are present and what it does to our skin. To give you a clearer picture on which is which, here’s a cheat sheet on UVA and UVB.

Before understanding both UVA and UVB rays, let’s take a look at this picture below. This explained the difference of levisiblelightuvdiagramngths that both rays can go. UVA has the longest wavelength  at 400 –320 nm, while UVB has a shorter wavelength at 320 – 290 nm. Due to this range of wavelengths, it is impossible to see the UV light with your naked eye.

However, both can still penetrate the atmosphere and cause several skin conditions such as early signs of aging, sun spots and even skin cancer.




UVB Rays

how-to-prevent-sunburn-1Have you ever been in the sun for too long and your skin got red afterwards? That is all because of UVB rays. This type of UV ray causes skin redness and sunburn to the skin, which can be really uncomfortable and painful for some people. The degree of UVB penetration goes only on the outermost layer of the skin, also known as the epidermis.

Even though it can only penetrate up to the level of the epidermis, UVB can still potentially contribute to skin cancer. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can also cause skin aging and wrinkles on the skin as it destroys the amount of collagen and elastin on the skin, but more on that later.


UVA Rays

UV RadiationThis is the most common UV ray that can be found on the surface of the earth, mainly because of the long wavelength it has that it is able to penetrate through the atmosphere. Due to the long wavelength that UVA posses, this enables it to penetrate deeper to the skin up to the dermal layer as seen in the picture on the side.

Some of you may have skipped using a sunscreen during cloudy days, but UVA can still penetrate the clouds and damage your skin, so it’s best to keep using your sunscreen even during cloudy days.

Do you like to tan or use tanning beds to get that bronzy, sun-kissed look? Actually, the tanning process is the skin’s natural response to stop further damage to the skin’s DNA. As the skin is exposed more to UVA rays (which is emitted by the tanning beds), it begins to get darker because the DNA is being damaged slowly. The damaged DNA can result in cancer if it continues to be injured.


In a nutshell, both UVA and UVB rays causes skin aging and wrinkles on the skin. However, the difference lies in the degree of penetration, where UVA goes deeper than UVB. To make it easier, the picture below sums up the difference between the two.


So, I hope you can now tell the difference between the two UV rays that are often responsible for skin conditions such as wrinkles, sun spots and cancer. Just remember, UVA tans the skin, while UVB burns it! A for tan, B for burn, ‘kay? Until then, I’ll see you later~


  1. What is the difference between UVA, UVB, and UVC?
  2. Basic Information About Skin Cancer.


  1. Great post! Skrg aku ngerti UVA sama UVB hahaha
    Kyk kamu blg ingatnya A for tan B for burn *oke sip*

  2. nice article, ce Phanie^^
    sun screen is a must