Sun and UV - The sun, a friend or a foe?

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09 July 2018

Marion, from BIODERMA Ireland

The sun, is it a friend or a foe?



The sun is essential in our life. It is a source of wellbeing. It provides our body with the vitamin D it requires, and it can also be beneficial for certain skin diseases.

However, the sun can also provoke a lot of damages like sunburn, cancer, premature skin ageing, allergies…


Can we talk about the sun without talking about UV?

The answer is NO. The sun produces three different types of UV radiations continuously, which are not equal: UVA, UVB, and UVC.

·       UVC, the most dangerous sun radiation

The UVC, being the shortest UV, are also the most harmful. Thankfully, UVC are naturally absorbed by the ozone layer, and so never reach the earth's surface and our skin.

·       UVB, the tan’s glow but also the sunburn nightmare

The UVB meet the skin’s surface but are stopped by the skin’s first layer: the epidermis. UVBs are responsible for tanning by stimulating the melanocytes and the production of melanin. However, they are also the ones responsible for the sunburns, the cells’ inflammation when the skin is not protected enough with sun cream.

·       UVA, speeding of photoaging process

The UVA, unlike UVB, penetrate deeper than the epidermis, into the second skin’s layer: the dermis. UVAs are responsible for premature photoaging by altering the support fibres of the skin (its collagen and elastin). More harmful than UVB, UVA radiation is particularly dangerous because it does not cause a burn and does not induce any inconvenience when they attack the skin. The results and consequences of this radiation are visible on the long term only.