Ultraviolet radiation, the spectrum of sunlight that causes sunburns and material degradation, permeates the atmosphere all year round. But since we usually associate UV rays with the heat of the sun on bright, warm days, we might put ourselves in more danger of them in winter or on cloudy days. But science informs us that our perceptions deceive us. What is really going on with ultraviolet radiation?
UV light is electromagnetic radiation that the sun emits in varying wavelengths and frequencies. Ultraviolet light streams just outside the ability of the human eye to perceive it. Since we can’t see UV rays, they can damage us before we know it. The UV wavelengths that the atmosphere can’t block is divided between UVA and UVB. Suntans happen when our skin pigments, the melanin, protectively reacts to UVB. When both types of UV radiation overwhelms our natural sun screening pigments, sunburn occurs.
Ultraviolet light breaks chemical bonds in molecules by knocking electrons off of atoms. On a macro scale, this causes damage to the cells of living tissue and deterioration of inanimate substances. You notice how just about anything left in the sun begins to break down over time. This is the work of ultraviolet rays.
Both UVA and UVB can cause skin cancer when the energy from the radiation disrupts the DNA in your skin cells. UVB, having more energy than UVA, attacks skin cells more vigorously, but UVA infiltrates more deeply into the skin. When the cells’ DNA can’t reproduce healthy skin cells, sometimes it produces mutated cells that can’t die, and the affected area becomes cancerous.
Because we associate sunburns with heat, we tend to think that if we aren’t directly exposed to sunlight or warmth that we’re safe from the effects of ultraviolet radiation. However, UVA rays aren’t detected as heat, and they do penetrate cloud cover. You can get just as sunburned on an overcast or cool day as on a sunny, warm one.
Sunscreen lotions help protect you from the damage of UV rays when you’re out cavorting in the sun. But who really thinks of slathering on sunscreen before they commute to or from work? UV light streaming through the windows of your car all year round affects your skin every bit as much as if you were stretched out on the beach. The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that 53 percent of skin cancers in the U.S. occur on the left side of the body, probably as a result of driver UV exposure.
The best way to protect yourself, and the interior of your car, is to apply a top-notch, UV-blocking film to the windows. The right film can block upwards of 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays. At Executive Motorsports, we’re one of the only authorized and certified dealers of BlackMax®, 3M and SunTek® films in Houston. As top-rated window films, you’ll enjoy total UV protection inside your car all year round. Contact us today and receive the best window film installation experience in Houston.