What Uv Index Is Best For Tanning – Our skin, the largest part of the human body, has many points for the development of healthy conditions. Exposure to high levels of ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can give you that tan you’ve had all summer, but it can also significantly increase your risk of skin cancer.
There are two main types of skin cancer – melanoma (which starts in our melanocyte cells that make up our skin) and non-melanoma (skin cancer which starts in other types of skin cells). The most common types of non-melanoma skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, both of which have lower mortality rates than melanoma (1).
What Uv Index Is Best For Tanning
With the number of skin cancer diagnoses increasing every year, aggressive types of cancer such as skin melanoma are climbing to the top of the list of most common cancers worldwide. Estimated to have more than 106,000 new cases in 2021 alone (about 5.6% of new cancer cases this year), melanoma is currently ranked as the 19th most common cancer in the world (2)(3) . With these numbers increasing over the past 25 years, skin cancer is beginning to discriminate against the health of our world population (2).
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While an individual’s genetics, time spent outdoors, cultural practices and access to sunscreen all play a role in a person’s physical risk of developing cancer, it turns out that your geographic location may increase your risk more than previously thought.
Skin cancer is primarily caused by chronic exposure to UV radiation – the heat energy emitted by our sun. UVA, UVB and UVC rays, divided into three different classes based on their wavelength, can penetrate our skin to different depths (4). When the rays interact with the cells in our skin, they cause disruption and damage to the cellular DNA. If this damage cannot be repaired by our body’s natural cell repair mechanisms, incorrect cell mutations can occur, resulting in skin cancer.
The ability to burn our skin on different levels, protection against all three types of UV radiation is essential for complete sun protection. Although small amounts of UVC rays only affect our skin, UVA rays can penetrate any layer of the skin, causing damage to cells in the outer layer of the dermis (5).
The amount of UV radiation you are exposed to during the day can affect your local conditions and the daily weather forecast. To protect people from potentially harmful levels of UV radiation, the UV Index was created to provide daily guidelines for sun protection (6):
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As the Earth continues to rotate in its orbit around the Sun, some countries receive higher levels of UV radiation than others. Depending on factors such as geographic location, cultural practices, and the ethnicity of the population, some countries have higher rates of skin cancer than others. The top 20 countries with skin cancer diagnoses (in average summer UV index) are (7):
So as we can see, the top 20 countries are spread all over the world. While some countries such as Australia and New Zealand report very high levels of UV radiation, others such as Norway and Denmark still have cases despite low levels of UV radiation.
Let’s look at how human genetics (and the impact of modern pollution) are causing the increasing number of diagnosed skin cancers worldwide.
Since colonial times, people have migrated around the world to build a life in new places and new countries. Many experts believe that the rise in skin cancer in Australians and Kiwis today is partly due to their European ancestry. The process of immigration over the last few centuries has created a situation where many people end up with colors that do not match their environment.
Differences Between Uva, Uvb & Uvc Rays
In the early days of humanity, our early ancestors developed a pigment in their skin that is thought to help protect them from the high levels of UV radiation they received. Due to immigration and evolutionary changes, those who ended up in the north were more likely to develop a better skin tone. Therefore, while those who continued to have hot equatorial climates such as Africa and Australia continued to have more pigmented skin tones, the European explorers who had been deprived of chronic UV exposure for hundreds of years were very good and therefore unable to adapt to life. in these hot climates. 9).
So while it may seem that people living in the northern mountains may be safe from chronic UV exposure, this is not always the case. Places like Norway and Denmark with an average UV index of 5 or 6 can have the potential to burn unprotected skin within 45 minutes, especially for people with fair skin.
Without high levels of melanin in the skin, fair-skinned people are at a higher risk of skin cell damage from UV radiation. In the light skin group, people with light eyes and red or red hair are at increased risk of developing skin cancer because their skin color is very fair.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) skin chart, there are six different skin types, each with a different level of risk for UV damage (10). People with light skin types (I and II in the diagram) have a lower level of normal melanin compared to dark skin tones (V and VI), which means that they need to pay more attention to tanning and serious skin damage.
Confused About The Uv Index?
It is important to note that although people with light skin have a lower risk of developing skin cancer, the risk is not zero. Melanin helps prevent UV damage, but it can also hide early signs of skin cancer, leading to fair-skinned people being diagnosed too early with a serious stage of the disease in the body. For this reason, it is recommended that everyone take adequate precautions to protect themselves from the sun (10).
In addition to the geography where we live, cultural practices often play a large role in our sun protection habits and attitudes.
Due to modern western fashion and culture, it is common for all fair-skinned people to dress up and expose a large portion of their skin to the sun in order to get a perfect tan. For this reason, the top ten places for skin cancer to develop include the chest, hands, back of the legs, and face (11).
Although the concept of leather is very popular in Western countries such as the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, other countries have different popular views on the matter, which are considered culturally beautiful.
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In Asian countries such as Japan and China, fair skin is the standard of beauty that many women and men strive to achieve. “Traditionally, tanning is not widely accepted. It is believed to be related to the low economic status of society,” explains Dr. Henry W. Lim, chairman of the department of dermatology for the Henry Ford Health System (12). Due to the traditional value of good skin, no Asian country is in the top twenty for skin cancer, even though it has regional conditions and average high UV indices.
Not surprisingly, climate change is not having a positive effect on skin cancer worldwide. As our pollution continues to deplete the ozone layer, harmful UV rays travel from our atmosphere to the Earth’s surface. It is estimated that a 10% reduction in ozone concentration would result in 300,000 non-melanoma and 4,500 melanoma skin cancers (10).
Due to the natural rotation of the earth’s orbit around the sun, countries near the equator will have the worst increase in UV exposure due to ozone depletion. Factors such as the elliptical shape of the Earth reduce pollution levels in general, and the small amount of population caused by countries in the southern region near the equator receives about 15% more UV radiation than northern regions (13). As our ozone layer continues to thin, UV radiation levels will increase in these areas, leading to worse health outcomes for people living in these warmer climates.
As the global skin cancer epidemic continues to decline, it’s time to act before the numbers overwhelm our healthcare system.
How To Stay Safe In The Sun And Treat Sunburn
On a personal level, increasing awareness of the importance of participating in sun protection programs is a great way to reduce your risk of skin cancer. Increasing the amount of time you spend in the shade, regularly checking your area’s UV index, and reducing the amount of time you intentionally spend in the sun are all good things everyone can do to prevent tanning and sun damage. In addition, one of them is to wear sunscreen with a high SPF (sun protection factor) when you spend time outside.