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Monday, June 7, 2010

The Ultraviolet (UV) Index

June is Cancer from the Sun month, but the sun can harm more than just your skin. Below is a chart with the UV index with descriptions of each level and precautions to take when the index reaches a particlular level.

(Click on chart to enlarge)

Cautionary notes

Be aware when interpreting the UV index and recommendations that:

The intensity of UV radiation reaching the surface of the earth varies greatly depending on how high the angle of the sun is in the sky. The sun reaches its highest angle at solar noon, which rarely corresponds to 12:00 on clocks. This is because of the differences between solar time and local time in a given time zone

The recommendations given are for adults with pale to lightly tan skin. Children and particularly fair-skinned people or those who have sun sensitivity for medical reasons need to take extra precautions.

Damage from sun exposure is cumulative over one's lifetime. Cumulative exposure to the sun imparts damage to the epidermis (outer layer and the dermis (the deeper layer where the skin's framework exists). Damage to the dermal layer changes the structural components, causing Elastin fibers to thicken and become more numerous. Collagen is damaged and degraded and reticulin fibers appear throughout the dermis rather than outlining the specific dermal-epidermal junction.

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