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UVB and UVA rays are like the pesky siblings of the sun’s family. UVB rays are the annoying little brother who always gets you in trouble – they’re the main cause of sunburn and are responsible for most of the immediate skin damage that we see after sun exposure. They have a shorter wavelength and are absorbed more by the outer layers of the skin. UVB rays are most intense between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and they are blocked by glass, so they’re less likely to sneak into your bedroom window and wake you up early on a Saturday morning.

On the other hand, UVA rays are the older sister who always seems to get her way. They have a longer wavelength and are able to penetrate deeper into the skin, causing much of the skin aging that we see over time and potentially contributing to skin cancer. Unlike UVB rays, UVA rays are not blocked by glass, so they can reach your skin even when you’re safe and sound inside your house or car. UVA rays are present at all times of the day and year, but they’re more intense during the summer months, when they’re more likely to boss you around and make you go outside and play.

To protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays, it’s important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Look for sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapply it every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating. You should also seek shade during the peak hours of the day and wear protective clothing, such as a hat and sunglasses when spending extended periods of time outside. By taking these precautions, you can help to reduce your risk of skin cancer and keep your skin looking healthy and youthful – no matter how annoying your siblings may be.