Focus on UV radiation Focus on UV radiation

Sunlight is the greatest source of UV radiation and the main cause of skin disease.

Medical Advisor: Gloria María Murcillo Cadena, dermatologist, practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare

Even if the sky is cloudy, the sun is always out; and with the sun comes ultraviolet radiation, known as UV radiation. Prevention is therefore the same as when the sky is clear: use sunblock, hats, an umbrella or long-sleeve shirt and pants when the weather calls for it. “People believe that if it is cloudy out, they are not being exposed to the sun, but that isn’t true because UV rays can go through the clouds. UV light bounces and reflects off at a rate of 80% in the snow, 25% in the water, and 15% in the sand, pavement and grass,” states dermatologist Gloria María Murchillo Cadena. The intense and prolonged exposure to these rays is what causes skin conditions and damages the DNA of cells; this often leads to skin cancer or premature aging. The first warning signs are freckles, followed by scaly skin lesions such as red spots that do not heal, that bleed, ulcer or do not improve. It is also important to be aware of any changes in moles.

“The damaging effects of the sun come from the accumulation of several years. We get the most exposure when we are under age 18 due to the activities we do outdoors,” she adds. Instilling self-care habits in children will influence their actions that, in turn, will impact their quality of life as an adult •

Main UV rays

  • UV-A: These rays penetrate more layers of skin that others, giving it pigmentation, damaging DNA and contributing to the onset of skin cancer.
  • UV-B: They cause sunburns and affect the more superficial layers of the skin.
  • UV-C: While they have more energy than other types of rays, they remain in the ozone layer.

95 % of the sun’s rays that a person receives are UV-A. The other 5% are UV-B.

 The cure is in prevention

Some of the common risk factors for developing skin cancer include: having light skin, getting sunburned as a child, getting sunburned frequently as an adult, spending a lot of time in the sun, using tanning beds and having more than 50 moles. UV rays also increase the risk of cataracts and other eye problems, which is why using dark sunglasses with sun protection is suggested.

50 years and older is the age in which the risk of having skin cancer is greater.

Sun for your wellbeing

  • Getting a limited amount of sun is good for your health as it stimulates the production of vitamin D3, which benefits the growth and development of bones.
  • It also helps people to feel better by increasing their sense of wellbeing and helping them get better sleep.

10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. is the time when UV rays are the strongest. The suggestion is to avoid the intense sun exposure during this period of time.

You can learn more about UV radiation at