Harmful Effects of Ultraviolet Radiation

EPA's Summary of Harmful Effects of Over Exposure to UV

A video excerpt from the TV documentary "The Universe":

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Also see an online article in which Dr. Barbara Gilchrist, a dermatologist at Boston University Medical Center, discusses the harmful effects of tanning, particularly in young people. Link to BU Today article

Eye Injuries Associated with Tanning

Permanent eye injuries can result from acute and chronic exposure to either natural or artificial sunlight. It is important to note that closed eyelids are not an adequate means of protection, since they only block about 25% of UV rays.


Potential injuries include:

A short video from Info4YourLife

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Skin Types

The extent of damage after exposure to UV radiation is dependent on many factors such as duration, frequency, time of year, cloud cover, use of sun block, etc. However, another factor that is important is the type of skin. The table below shows the six widely recognized skin types. These should be taken into account by operators in tanning salons when determining maximum exposures. For a PowerPoint slide show on skin types, open this link.

Type I: Highly sun-sensitive, always burns, never tans.
Example: Very pale Caucasian, freckles, or Albino
Type II: Very sun-sensitive, burns easily, tans minimally.
Example: Fair-skinned Caucasian
Type III: Sun-sensitive skin, sometimes burns, slowly tans to light brown.
Example: Darker Caucasian, European mix
Type IV: Minimally sun-sensitive, rarely burns, always tans to moderate brown.
Example: Mediterranean, European, Asian, Hispanic, Native American
Type V: Sun-insensitive skin, rarely burns, tans well.
Example: Hispanic, Afro-American, Middle Eastern
Type VI: Sun-insensitive, never burns, deeply pigmented.
Example: Afro-American, African, Middle Eastern




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Understanding Skin Types Using the Fitzpatrick Scale
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