There are two kinds of ultraviolet solar radiation that can affect your exposed skin: UVA and UVB Rays. UVA Rays make up about 95% of the UV rays on earth and can cause deterioration of collagen and elastin in your skin. This can lead to thinning and wrinkling of skin – sun damage. With age, elastin and collagen fibers gradually decrease – UV radiation speeds up this process.
Ultraviolet B rays (UVB) are the ones that cause your skin to turn red and give you a sunburn. The resulting darkening of your skin is cause by your body trying to defend itself against further solar damage by producing a pigment known as melanin.
Too much ultraviolet light will damage your skin cells. Some say that UVB isn’t as damaging as UVA rays – while they don’t penetrate your skin as deeply, UVB rays can still harm your skin.
Protect your skin with a good titanium-dioxide based, full spectrum, UVA/UVB sunblock with a SPF of at least 30. Avoid direct sunlight for two hours before and after noon, and remember that tanning beds are not a safe alternative. If you want a tan, look for a good paraben-free sunless tanning lotion.