Sometimes it can be hard for a child or even a grown-adult to really understand the concept of why it is important to wear sunscreen daily, reapply often and protect ourselves from the UVA and UVB rays by wearing UV protective clothing. UV rays are always present (even when it is cloudy) and they are stronger in some parts of the world than others.
What is a UV Ray?
Ultraviolet (UV) rays are invisible rays that are part of the energy that comes from the sun. UV rays can burn the eyes, hair, and skin if these parts of the body are not properly protected, or if they undergo too much exposure to the sun. Nevertheless, UV rays are very useful in our ecosystem.
UV rays assist our bodies in making vitamin D, which strengthens bones and teeth and helps our bodies build immunities to such diseases as Rickets and colon cancer. UV rays are also used to treat psoriasis; the rays slow the growth of skin cells, preventing the outbreak of the itchy patches for which psoriasis is known. UV rays have various commercial uses as well, including sterilization and disinfection. Some animals can see UV rays, and UV vision helps bees to collect pollen from flowers.
In spite of all their positive uses, UV rays remain very harmful for anyone who spends a large amount of time in the sun without proper protection. The most common effect of exposure to UV rays is sunburn. Sunburn is the damage caused to skin cells when they have absorbed too much energy from UV rays. Sunburn causes blood to rush to the affected area as the body tries to cool the burn, and the damaged skin ultimately peels away. In addition to the burning pain on the skin, sunburn can ultimately cause skin cancer.
Skin cancer is often caused by prolonged exposure to UV rays, but it can occur even when there is no evidence of sunburn. Dark skinned people are just as susceptible as those with fair skin to the damage caused by UV rays. At first, eye damage caused by UV rays is usually pain or temporary blindness and blurred vision, but over time, UV rays can ultimately lead to cataracts. The UV index measures the intensity of radiation caused by UV rays and gives people an idea of how long they may remain in the sun before damage is possible. An index of 1-3 means the possibility for UV damage is low, while and index of 8-10 means the possibility is high. (Source: Wise Geek)
I found a fun way to incorporate fun and the science of UV rays into one super cute bracelet!
5 Orange Potatoes posted about how to be a UV Detective using color changing uv reactive beads, pipe cleaners, and other multi-colored beads. After making your bracelet you can wear them for any of your outdoor activities and watch the colors change and intensify!