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22 Interesting Facts about UV Rays You Probably Didn't Know

Christina Andrew
From childhood, we've been hearing about the harmful ultraviolet rays affecting us, and we use our best sunscreen lotions to protect our skin from burns. But there's much more to it than just burns! We give you some interesting facts you probably didn't know about UV rays, which you definitely need to be aware of, to keep yourself and others around you safe from its adverse effects.


Stay away from tanning beds/booths as they generate artificial UV rays to produce skin tan, and even though they assure safety, in the long run, your skin starts to wear off and gets wrinkled before its natural time.
Ultraviolet (UV) rays are those rays that emanate from the Sun and have a shorter wavelength than those which are visible to the human eye. Therefore, these rays cannot be seen. When these rays penetrate our skin, a pigment called melanin is produced to protect the skin from damage. This makes the skin look tanned.
But chronic UV exposures can cause mutation of DNA, which results in premature aging and wrinkling of skin. This also causes skin cancer, which has no age limitations. A person at the age of 20 can also suffer from skin cancer caused by UV rays.
UV rays are of three types: UVA, UVB, and UVC.
UVA rays, also known as black light, can be referred to as UV "aging" rays. These rays contribute most to the aging of the skin. 99% of the UV radiations reaching the surface of the Earth are UVA rays. This is the least damaging type among the three, but can still cause aging, DNA damage, and skin cancer.
UVB rays can be referred to as UV "burning" rays. These rays activate the production of vitamin D in our bodies, which is a good thing; however, constant exposure to UVB will start destroying vitamin A and cause further damage to the skin.
UVC rays can be referred to as UV "catastrophic" rays. These are the most dangerous type of UV rays having the highest energy. The best part is that the ozone layer surrounding the Earth stops these rays from entering.

Interesting Facts about UV Rays

☼ The speed of ultraviolet rays is strikingly fast; same as the speed of light!
☼ About 80% of UV rays is reflected by snow, 15% by sand, and 10% by roads and water. So, not only do UV rays attack us from above, but also from surrounding surfaces reflecting it.
☼ UV rays can penetrate through glass to some extent. So, if you plan on going for a long journey in your car, don't forget you need sun protection inside too!
☼ At higher altitudes, UV radiations are more on ground level because of the less atmospheric protection. In snow-clad mountains, snow and ice reflect 80% of UV rays apart from the direct radiations from above.
☼ The cornea is known to be a good UV light absorber. However, absorbing high doses of UV causes cloudiness of the cornea, consequently ending up in temporary snow blindness.
☼ The UV index is a standard measurement of UV radiations created by scientists for the people to know when they should use protection against the harmful rays. This index is displayed on weather forecasting and warns people to be alert when the index reaches 3.
☼ UV rays have the capability of destroying cystine, methionine, and aromatic amino acids.

☼ The colors of seeds, flowers, and fruits appear brighter and stronger in UV lights than that in the human light spectrum.
☼ Minute details of insects, birds, and animals can be seen through UV light. Even their excreta like urine and other secretions are more observable under UV light.

☼ The consequences of UV lights are enhanced with humidity.
☼ A process called phototherapy vitiligo treatment can be useful for repigmentation.

☼ The concentration of UV lights increases as we come to the equator by about 1,000 times more than that at the poles. Thus, the aquatic life near the equator is more habitual to UV rays.

Uses of UV Rays

☼ UVA molecules are used as light absorbers in organic materials like paints and polymers.
☼ UVC, also known as germicidal UV lights, can be used for microbial control.
☼ The light insect traps that you see mostly at food joints or houses use UV lights to trap small flies.
☼ Tools and apparatus used in medical laboratories or other workshops are sterilized by using UV light lamps.
☼ Apple juice and cider contain microbial pathogens in them. UV light is used to reduce it to some extent.
☼ Fruit juices are pasteurized by flowing them over UV light sources of high intensities.
☼ Several food products are treated with UV light to remove any unwanted microorganisms.
☼ Many kinds of viruses, molds, and bacteria can be treated using UV radiations.
☼ UV light is also used as a disinfectant for water and air.
☼ Many public toilets and public transport authorities use UV radiations to kill microbial germs.