What is UV light?
Ultraviolet light is a type of electromagnetic radiation that makes black-light posters glow, and is responsible for summer tans — and sunburns.
How does it affect me?
Too much exposure to UV radiation is damaging to living tissue. A suntan is a reaction to exposure to harmful UVB rays. Essentially, a suntan results from the body’s natural defense mechanism kicking in. This consists of a pigment called melanin, which is produced by cells in the skin called melanocytes. Melanin absorbs UV light and dissipates it as heat. When the body senses sun damage, it sends melanin into surrounding cells and tries to protect them from sustaining more damage. The pigment causes the skin to darken.
What are UV beads?
UV beads are beads that change colour when exposed to UV light. Dangerous ultraviolet (UV) light can be revealed using these beads. UV Beads contain pigments that turn different colours when exposed to UV light. The beads are white in ordinary, visible light but in UV light, you’ll see different colours depending on the pigment added to each bead. The beads will change from white to a colour about 50,000 times before the pigment will no longer respond to UV light.
Instead of using your skin as a UV detector, do a test with simple white beads to see if the sunscreen you are using is effective.
How are beads and wristbands useful?
UV Beads and wristbands are the perfect tool for understanding how solar radiation can be harmful and to recognise measures that can be taken to reduce the risks associated with exposure to sunlight. When you expose bare skin to sunlight, your skin will either burn or tan (which doctors warn is still not healthy for you). UV radiation wavelengths are short enough to break chemical bonds in your skin tissue and, with prolonged exposure, your skin may wrinkle or skin cancer may occur. These responses by your skin are a signal that the cells in your skin have been assaulted by UV radiation for a long time.
The UV wristbands have a soft rubber design contains a photosensitive patch that changes colour from white to purple when out in the sun. The purple colour can then be compared with the indicators around the edge – the darker it is the more intense the UV radiation, and the greater the level of protection required. Waterproof and secured with a plastic popper – perfect for the beach!
How can I prevent UV light damage?
This is one of the most important questions because prevention is always much better than cure:
– Cover up with Solar Protection Clothing. Wear tightly-woven clothing that blocks out light. Try this test: Place your hand between a single layer of the clothing and a light source. If you can see your hand through the fabric, the garment offers little protection.
– Use sunscreen. A sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 blocks 93 percent of UV rays. You want to block both UVA and UVB rays to guard against skin cancer. Be sure to follow application directions on the bottle.
– Wear a hat. A wide brim hat (not a baseball cap) is ideal because it protects the neck, ears, eyes, forehead, nose, and scalp. Wear UV-absorbent shades. Sunglasses don’t have to be expensive, but they should block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation.
– Limit exposure. UV rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you’re unsure about the sun’s intensity, take the shadow test: If your shadow is shorter than you, the sun’s rays are the day’s strongest.