Ultraviolet radiation UVA, UVB, SPF protection—what does it mean?

In practice, we dermatologists diagnose many more skin cancers than 10 years ago. Statistics show that the Netherlands is in the top 5 with the most skin cancer in Europe. It not only occurs in elderly people, but also in children. The advice to protect the skin is an important part of our consultation hours. But what is good sun protection and does ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB) and SPF sun protection mean?

short summary

Different sun rays?

First of all, the light from the sun consists of a number of elements: Ultraviolet A (UVA), Ultraviolet B (UVB), visible light and infrared (IR).

For more: sunrays

UVA rays are present with relatively equal intensity during all daylight hours throughout the year, and can penetrate clouds and glass. These UVA rays make up the largest part of the ultraviolet radiation, so more than UVB.

UVA is 30 to 50 times more frequent than UVB light

Although the intensity of UVA rays is less than UVB, it penetrates deeper into the skin, even into the dermis (dermis). Free radicals are formed in the dermis by UVA rays. This causes damage to elastin and collagen fibers in the dermis, which provide the elasticity of the skin and skin fibroblasts. Skin fibroblasts are responsible, among other things, for the synthesis of collagen and elastin

Uva And Uvb Rays Skin Cancer
Uvb And Uva Effect On The Skin

In the long term, UVA rays can lead to skin aging such as wrinkles, fine lines, skin discolorations and even skin cancer. Tanning beds can, varying in strength, emit up to 12 x more UVA rays than the sun. In the skin, it gives a quick tan, which is short-lived. People who regularly visit tanning salons may be 2.5x more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma. 1.5x More likely to develop basal cell carcinoma. According to a recent study, first exposure to tanning beds in childhood increases melanoma risk by 75 percent.


UVB rays

UVB penetrates into the superficial epidermis and is responsible for our vitamin D production. So for a slow and longer lasting tan. Too much UVB causes redness, sunburn and eventually also skin aging and skin cancer. Unlike UVA, UVB does not penetrate glass. Unlike UVA, UVB radiation can be up to 1000x stronger than UVA rays and does not penetrate glass to cause damage to our hereditary material, DNA.VB. The damage can disrupt the genes that control normal cell division. The damage can increase over the years, resulting in cancer.


UVA and UVB intensity
Sunprotection Uva Uvb Spf

SPF – Sun Protection Factor

SPF is correlated with UVB rays and not UVA. The higher the SPF value, the more UVB is blocked and UVA rays are passed through. An SPF 30 blocks 97% UVB, SPF50 – 98% and SPF100 – 99% not available in Europe against UVB rays.


In short: In the Netherlands, UVA rays are present all year round during daylight and UVB is strongest during the spring and summer period. In the spring and summer period SPF30 possibly combined with day cream UVA filter

More about: Sunscreen

Wrinkles Uv Rays Sun Strenght All Year Round
Sunshine All Year Round

Leave a Comment

Aanbevolen berichten

Iconic-Elements.com maakt gebruik van cookies. Wij gebruiken onder meer analytische cookies (met Google Analytics) om onze site continu te verbeteren. Lees onze privacybeleid voor meer informatie. Indien je de analytische cookies wilt uitschakelen, klik hier.