Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is electromagnetic radiation of a wavelength shorter than that of the visible region, but longer than that of soft X-rays.
The Sun emits ultraviolet radiation in the UVA, UVB, and UVC bands, but because of absorption in the atmosphere's ozone layer, 99% of the ultraviolet radiation that reaches the Earth's surface is UVA. (Some of the UVC light is responsible for the generation of the ozone.) Ordinary glass is partially transparent to UVA but is opaque to shorter wavelengths.
Ordinary window glass passes about 90% of the light above 350 nm, but blocks over 90% of the light below 300 nm.
In humans, prolonged exposure to solar UV radiation may result in acute and chronic health effects on the skin, eye, and immune system.
UVA, UVB and UVC can all damage collagen fibers and thereby accelerate aging of the skin.
In general, UVA is the least harmful, but can contribute to the aging of skin, DNA damage and possibly skin cancer.
It penetrates deeply and does not cause sunburn.
Because it does not cause reddening of the skin it cannot be measured in the SPF testing.
There is no good clinical measurement of the blocking of UVA radiation, but it is important that sunscreen block both UVA and UVB.
UVB light can cause skin cancer.
A positive effect of UVB light is that it induces the production of vitamin D in the skin.
See the following related content on ScienceDaily: