The Truth About UV Light: It’s Both Healing and Germicidal
Ultraviolet light is pretty amazing; it can be both germicidal and healing.
11:10 12 May 2021
UV light is essential to life and is naturally propagated by the sun. However, not all UV light is beneficial.
UV light is used in many different ways. For example, it’s used in signage, for tanning, to cure inks and adhesives, as a germicidal agent, and for phototherapy. Regardless of how UV light is used, it’s important to take precautions to avoid overexposure that can cause detrimental effects.
This article will explore the difference between helpful and harmful UV light and will explain several important precautions about using UV light consumer products.
What is ultraviolet light?
Ultraviolet light is electromagnetic radiation with a frequency range that falls between visible light and x-rays. Ultraviolet light (UV light) has a wavelength of 10-400 nanometers and is divided into three categories of sub-bands:
- Ultraviolet-A (UVA). UVA is the most abundant sub-band of UV light emitted by the sun. The wavelength of UVA light falls between 315-400 nm and is considered near-UV.
UVA light is used in tanning beds because it deeply penetrates the skin. However, it can damage DNA and skin, causing wrinkles and other unwanted results like wrinkles. UVA has been found to contribute to skin cancer and unlike UVB, it can penetrate glass windows.
- Ultraviolet-B (UVB). The wavelength of UVB light falls between 280-315 nm and is considered middle-UV. Overexposure to UVB light can cause sunburns, but even light exposure can damage DNA and skin even when no visible effects are present.
Despite the potential for damage, UVB light has healing properties. For example, exposure to UVB light for just a few minutes can stimulate the body toproduce sufficient amounts of vitamin D. This is a better way to get vitamin D than taking supplements.
Another wonderful use for UVB light is wound healing. Medical professionals have beenusing UVB light to speed wound healing for many years. While there are regulated medical-grade light wands on the market, there are also cheaper wands that are unregulated. If you’re going to use a UVB light product for wound healing, make sure to buy a regulated, medical-grade device and follow the instructions to the letter to avoid causing harm.
- Ultraviolet-C (UVC). The wavelength of UVC light falls between 180-280 nm. Unlike the other sub-bands, UVC light is propagated by the sun, but never reaches the earth, thanks to the ozone layer. All sources of UVC light are entirely manmade.
Like the other sub-bands, UVC light can damage the body with skin burns, lesions, and ulcers. However, it doesn’t contribute to skin cancer.
The dangers of using UVB light products at home
There are two popular ways people use UV light at home: for medical use and germicidal use. Both of these uses are common, yet most people don’t know they need to take precautions.
Precautions for using UVA sterilization devices
There are plenty of UVA-powered sterilization devices on the market for home use. Traditionally, these devices have been used in hospitals and other large buildings where safety precautions are carefully followed. The average consumer may not be aware of the dangers.
If you’re going to sterilize a room using UVC light, everyone needs to leave the room while the light is on. Anyone in the room will be exposed to dangerous wavelengths that can cause serious skin burns, lesions, and ulcers.
Precautions for using UVB for medical purposes
You can find a variety of light therapy devices designed for home use totreat wounds, depression, and even skin problems. The science is sound, but you need to know how to use the wand to avoid potential problems. For instance, overexposure can happen if the wand is either too close to the skin or remains in the same spot for too long. You don’t want to hold the wand too close to the skin or hold it in one position for more than a couple of seconds.
The other problem to watch out for is that only medical-grade UVB wands are certified. It’s impossible to regulate all the small manufacturers, so the certification companies don’t bother. Wands made for consumers are definitely cheaper, but if you want to make sure you’re getting the safest product on the market, buy a medical-grade UVB wand.
The benefits of UV light sometimes outweigh the risks
With the risk of skin damage and even cancer, it sounds like UV light should be left alone. However, when used appropriately, the benefits outweigh the risks. However, it’s best to consult with your doctor before using any UV light device for medical purposes.