Unexpected Places You’re Getting Damaged By UV Rays
Are you heading to a beach or an outdoor barbecue? Chances are, you’re probably donning a hat or applying SPF lotion beforehand to protect your skin from the sun. Yet, did you know there are many unexpected places where you can still get ultraviolet (UV) damage? Here are common indoor areas, along with ways to stay protected from harmful UV rays.
UVA and UVB rays are the two basic types of UV rays present in sunlight. They are the most damaging to the skin and play a major role in skin cancer formation. UVA rays are generally linked to skin aging and tend to be the cause of wrinkles, sunspots and other signs of sun damage. UVB rays, on the other hand, are stronger, have a shorter wavelength, and can directly damage the DNA in skin cells.
If you’re headed on a road trip for a weekend getaway, you may not think twice about sun protection while sitting in a car. However, skin exposed to sunlight shining through car window glass can lead to significant skin damage over time. Windshields are made with two layers of glass laminated with a plastic layer in between to block UVB rays and about 96% of UVA rays. Your side and rear windows are generally made from single-pane glass, which is only effective at blocking UVB rays.
Single-pane glass may allow as much as 75% of UVA rays to pass. Consider installing professional protective window tint or film, but check local regulations first. If you don’t install window film, you can wear protective clothing, gloves and sunglasses to prevent UV damage. Alternatively, applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen can ensure you are protected from both types of harmful rays. Apply sunscreen all over your face and on areas where the epidermis is exposed.
Your skin isn’t the only thing at risk for UV exposure — many common materials are, too. When materials such as wood, plastics and paints absorb UV rays, they start to dry and their chemical bonds break down over time. This is called UV degradation and materials may crack, fade or come apart from prolonged exposure. Consider rearranging the position of your furniture to reduce UV degradation or putting slipcovers over furnishings to protect the underlying upholstery.
Whether it’s your skin or furniture, the sun can pose a great threat. However, taking the right precautions can make all the difference in reducing the risk of sun damage. For more unexpected places you may be getting harmed by UV rays, see the accompanying infographic.
Graphic created by Glass.com.
Author Bio: Daniel Snow serves as Operations Manager for Glass.com®. Snow is also a contributing editor. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from George Mason University and has a background in the real estate industry. After high school, Snow even worked at a family-owned glass shop for a short period and is an Auto Glass Safety Council certified installer.