Does UVA or UVB Cause Sunburn?

Sunburn UVA UVB

The weekend’s heatwave was arguably too hot for sunbathing, but even short spells in the sun expose the skin to harmful ultraviolet radiation. 

While many now understand that the sun’s rays can damage the skin, few actually understand the mechanism or the difference between UVA and UVB.

UV radiation is emitted by the sun. It is not visible as the wavelengths are short, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. There are 3 classified types of UV ray:

  1. UVA – these are predominantly responsible for the signs of ageing as well as tanning. UVA comes through clouds or glass and is there all year round, which is why it is sensible to wear SPF even in winter. UVA penetrates deeper into the skin than UVB and has been shown to damage epidermal skin cells where cancer can occur
  2. UVB – these are predominantly responsible for sunburn and linked to skin cancer. UVB is stronger in summer, but can burn and damage the skin all year round. UVB does not penetrate glass and will be partially absorbed by cloud depending on how much cloud there is
  3. UVC – these would be the most damaging to humans but do not reach earth as they they are absorbed by the ozone layer

So when it comes to sunburn, UVB is the main culprit.

However, it is vitally important to protect the skin against UVA and UVB as both can potentially cause skin cancer, a potentially deadly condition.

UVA is a risk all year round, which is why experts recommend a daily sunscreen to protect the skin every day of the year.

Most sunscreens now protect against both UVA and UVB, but do check the bottle.

In the summer when the sun is stronger and UVB is also a risk, additional measures to protect the skin include:

  • Avoiding the sun at peak times 11-3 – stay indoors or find good shade
  • Wearing long sleeved tops and trousers to cover up
  • Wearing a large brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect face/eyes

After any sun exposure it is also important to check for any worrying skin lesions. Sun cancer can take many years to develop and may relate to sunburn from decades ago. So always seek attention for any worrying blemishes or odd moles, just to rule out the worst case scenario or arrange fast referral if the doctor agrees that there is a concern.

Private Mole Checks & Removal

The London Mole Removal Centre is a private company, offering mole checks and treatment for unwanted moles and other skin lesions (e.g. cysts, skin tags, warts, verruca, lipoma, xanthelasma) at 5 mole removal clinics.

All consultations and treatments are carried out in person by doctors who are specially trained in the latest laser and skin surgery techniques and are highly experienced in the field.

Where the mole is not considered medically a risk, then the NHS will usually deny mole removal on the basis that it is just ‘cosmetic’, so treatment in the private sector is the best approach.

Further advantages of private treatment at the London Mole Removal Centre include:

  • No waiting lists
  • Moles can often be removed in the same appointment as the consultation
  • Choice of clinics in London and also Bristol
  • Removed moles tested with report provided

For more information or to book a consultation, please complete the form on this web page or call 020 7731 3791.