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UVB rays tan the skin and cause sunburn
The short waves of UVB radiation are for the most part intercepted by the ozone layer. Depletion of the ozone layer in recent years has, however, let to an increase in the number of UVB rays reaching the ground. Powerful UVB radiation initially provokes the skin’s most obvious protective reaction to the sun. It penetrates the upper layers of the epidermis and tans them quickly. A brown pigment (melanin) is formed by the pigment cells in the epidermis and the squamous cell layer above colours visibly. If the dose of UVB is too strong, the skin becomes red and sunburn is the result, a serious alarm signal given by the skin cells. Now it is up to the cells’ own repair system to eradicate the damage. The more often and more intensively the skin is exposed to the sun, the more serious the damage becomes and the risk of repair processes becoming faulty increases. In the long term, this can lead to modification of the genetic material, to chronic skin damage, the preliminary stages of cancer and to skin cancer itself.