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Last Updated: February 17, 2023

Stay Safe in the Sun: Understanding UV Radiation

Let's talk about how to protect our skin while enjoying the beautiful underwater world. Did you know that the sun's rays can reach us even when we're in the water? The sun emits ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can harm our skin even though we can't see or feel it.

It's a common misconception that sun damage only happens on hot, sunny days. But the truth is, the sun's UVA and UVB rays can damage our skin all year round, no matter the temperature or if it's cloudy outside. In fact, up to 90% of UV radiation can still reach us even when we're snorkeling on cloudy days!

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It doesn't matter what you're doing, every time you step outside, you are exposed to UVA and UVB rays. 

What exactly are UVA and UVB rays?

UVA Rays

UVA rays are known as the "aging rays," as they cause skin aging, dryness, wrinkles, roughness, and sagging. They can penetrate deep into the skin's layers and are present during all daylight hours. Unfortunately, long-term exposure to UVA can also increase your risk of skin cancer, including melanoma.

UVB Rays

On the other hand, UVB rays are the "burning rays." They penetrate the outer layer of skin and cause sunburn and skin damage, as well as increase the risk of skin cancer.

UVB strength can vary throughout the day, and it can reflect off the surface of water.

How to protect yourself from UV Rays?

The best way to protect our skin from both UVA and UVB rays while snorkeling is to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating.

The SPF tells you how much UVA and UVB radiation the sunscreen blocks.

Make sure to reapply the sunscreen every two hours or after swimming or sweating, to ensure continuous protection.

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What is SPF? 

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is a measure of a sunscreen's effectiveness in protecting the skin from UVB rays. Sunscreens with a higher SPF rating provide greater protection against UVB rays.

A SPF 30 sunscreen will filter out approximately 97% of UVB rays, while an SPF 50 sunscreen will filter out approximately 98% of UVB rays. 

It's important to note that no sunscreen can provide 100% protection. Continuously reapplying sunscreen throughout the day and avoiding extended sun exposure will help keep your skin protected and reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer. 

Sunscreen for kids

What's the difference between SPF and UPF? 

While using a high SPF sunscreen is an important step in protecting your skin while swimming, it's not the only measure you should take. 

In clothing, SPF refers to the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF), which is a measure of a fabric's effectiveness in blocking out harmful UV radiation. Like SPF in sunscreen, UPF provides a numerical rating of the protection level that a garment can offer.

A UPF rating of 50 means that the fabric will allow only 1/50th of the sun's UV radiation to reach the skin, thereby providing excellent protection. Clothing with a UPF rating of at least 30 is considered to provide good sun protection, while a UPF of 50 or higher provides excellent protection.

UPF Clothing Properties  

Sun protective clothing is made from tightly woven fabrics that are less transparent to UV radiation, and can also be treated with UV-absorbing chemicals to further enhance their protective properties.

Quality clothing is also soft and lightweight to regulate body temperature, and free of any harmful chemicals or artificial fertilisers.

Wearing sun protective clothing is a great way to supplement the use of sunscreen, and provides an extra layer of protection against harmful UV radiation.

Solbari Luxe Sun Wrap Oatmeal

UPF 50+ Sun Protection Clothing 

In addition to using broad-spectrum sunscreen, wearing sun protective clothing is another effective way to guard against UV radiation.

There a a number of sun protection brands that specialize in clothing that provides UPF50+ protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Their products are made from breathable, quick-drying fabric that's perfect for outdoor activities like snorkeling.

By wearing swim shirts, sun pants, hats, or gloves, you can feel confident that you're taking an extra step to protect your skin from harmful UV radiation.

Solbari Women Long Sleeve Swim Top upf50
Solbari Sun Protection Sun Hat spf50

To Sum Up

So there you have it! A little tip on how to protect our skin while we enjoy the wonders of the underwater world. Let's stay safe in the sun! By taking a comprehensive approach to sun protection, you can have fun in the sun without worrying about the harmful effects of UV rays.

Solbari Mens Swimwear Sun Protection
Solbari Swimwear
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About the Author

Sharon McKenzie

Sharon McKenzie is an Advanced Certified Scuba Diver who loves to explore the ocean depths. She is an advocate for marine and eco conservation, promoting sustainable products. In her free time, Sharon also enjoys paddleboarding and snorkeling. She has two upcoming diving expeditions to Bali and the Great Barrier Reef, which are destinations she has always wanted to explore.

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