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UV radiation is part of the natural energy produced by the sun. On the electromagnetic spectrum, UV light has shorter wavelengths than visible light, so your eyes can’t see UV, but your skin can feel it. Tanning beds also emit UV radiation.
Two types of UV light are proven to contribute to the risk for skin cancer:
- Ultraviolet A (UVA) has a longer wavelength. It is associated with skin aging.
- Ultraviolet B (UVB) has a shorter wavelength. It is associated with skin burning.
While UVA and UVB rays differ in how they affect the skin, they both do harm. Unprotected exposure to UVA and UVB damages the DNA in skin cells, producing genetic defects, or mutations, that can lead to skin cancer and premature aging. UV rays can also cause eye damage, including cataracts and eyelid cancer.