Natural ultraviolet (UV) rays are emitted by the sun and are measured with an index relative to their strength.
What is a UV ray ?
A UV ray comes from the sun but its impact on organic molecules is very important and this impact that affects all areas of life.
The different types of UV ray
There are 3 different types of UV ray, the energy of each ray depends on the light source (the sun for example) and the environment that it is found (the terrestrial atmosphere if the source is the sun). UVAs are weak in energy, they penetrate our skin the deepest up to the dermis. Furthermore, they accelerate the skins ageing.
UVB rays are the ones principally responsible for sun burn because they are very high in energy. As a result, they can burn as well as cause allergic reactions (red blotches, itching).
UV rays and us
Why are they dangerous for our health ?
Exposition to UV rays both from the sun and artificial is a major factor in the development of skin cancer. It is estimated that more than two thirds of melanomas are due to an excessive exposure to UV rays. The higher the UV index, the higher the risk of skin and eye damage.
Can we protect ourselves from it ?
To protect ourselves from the harmful effects of UV rays, you should avoid exposing yourself to the sun during the hours when it is at its highest point, that is to say between 12:00 and 16:00. This recommendation is not just for people going to the beach for the day, but also people doing outdoor activities, such as gardening or outdoor sports. In all cases, it is necessary to apply sunscreen to protect yourself.
What about my children’s skin ?
The skin of children and adolescents is a lot more sensitive to UV rays. In short, it is thinner and their pigment system is not fully developed. Lots of exposure to the sun, in particular as an infant, increases the risk of cancer (notably melanoma, the most serious of skin cancers) once they reach adulthood. Babies less than 12 months old should never be exposed to the sun because their skin and eyes are still too delicate.
Protecting yourself best from exposure to the sun.
First of all, you will need a big sunshade, a wide brimmed hat most importantly for children, sunglasses for your eyes (category CE 3 or 4), sunscreen (factor 25 or higher) applied carefully at least every two hours to areas that will be exposed to the sun (it’s to protect you, not so you can expose more of yourself than necessary).
Avoiding the sun’s rays
Once you are tanned, don’t stop protecting yourself because that allows you to keep your tan longer, hydrate your skin, and to limit the damaged caused by the sun.
How to read the UV Index ?
In order to inform people about the level of risk caused by exposure to the sun, the worldwide organisation of weather and health recommend the use of a universal scale called the UV index.
This is a figure between 1 and 11 or more and it reveals the intensity of the UV rays and their potential impact on our skin. The daily value is always the highest possible value for the day.
Here is what each reading means :
Between 0 and 2, the rays are weak: there is no need to protect yourself, sunscreen of factor 10 and sunglasses will be enough.
Between 3 and 5, the rays are moderately strong, its best if you can avoid exposure to the sun between 11:00 and 16:00. Those with darker skin will be fine with sunscreen with a relatively weak factor, those with lighter skin should increase their protection.
Between 6 and 7, the rays are strong: avoid the sun in the middle of the day and wear a hat and t-shirt, even in the shade!
Between 8 and 10, the rays are very strong: factor 50 sunscreen is strongly recommended if you are in the sun. However, with a UV index like this, it’s best if you avoid the sun. Make sure you have: a sunshade, a hat, a t-shirt, sunglasses…
11 and higher, the rays are extremely strong: avoid as much exposure to the sun as possible since it could be very dangerous for your skin.
ICO’s advice :
I am ICO your connected device which measures, anticipates, and adapts your advice and lets you know on your smartphone.
Linked to the weather forecast, I let you anticipate changes in the quality of your water and the weather. My plastic is designed to be resistant to chlorine and is anti-UV. My water-tightness level is IP-68.
Don’t forget to protect your skin properly with the help of sunscreen.