Skip Navigation


DNA affected by UVA and UVB

A study published in the July 2008 Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal shows that UVB causes more damage to DNA than UVA.  These findings may lead to analyzing sunscreens to create the best products with the most effective ingredients and ultimately the prevention of some skin cancers.   Additionally, it may also lead to new research in repairing skin damage after it has occurred.

Researchers at City of Hope Medical Center found that our bodies are not able to repair DNA damage caused by UVB.  During their study, groups of cells were exposed to UVA, UVB and simulated light and the cells exposed to UVA were able to repair the damage more than those cells exposed to UVB. 

Although less harmful, UVA still can cause skin cancer and both UVA and UVB cause damage to DNA cells.  The breakdown of the ozone is thought to expose us to more sunlight and an increased amount of UV, which may be responsible for our increased rates of skin cancer.  With this new information it may be possible to create better sunscreens and more effective after sun products.  Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States according to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and 65 percent to 90 percent of melanomas are caused by overexposure to UV.


Besaratinia B, Kim S, Pfeifer GP. Rapid repair of UVA-induced oxidized purines and persistence of UVB-induced dipyrimidine lesions determine the mutagenicity of sunlight in mouse cells. FASEB J. 2008; 22: 2379-2392.



^return to top

Apply now for AAD's 2009 Shade Structure Program

Each year the American Academy of Dermatology awards shade structure grants to organizations who have outdoor areas where shade is needed.  In 2008 AAD awarded 37 grants to applicants they felt demonstrated a commitment to sun safety.  According to the press release issued by AAD on May 5, 2008, these grants will provide the funding for shade structures that will benefit  a combined 23,427 individuals every day.  The 37  2008 recipients include 29 schools (elementary, middle, & high schools); 5 before/after school and preschool programs; 2 city facilities; and a hospital.   

Applications for the 2009 AAD Shade Structure Program are currently available on the AAD?s website (  They are due on April 10, 2009 with the award recipients being announced on Monday June 22, 2009.  For more information about the grant program and how to apply, please visit the American Academy of Dermatology?s website.

One of the 2008 grant recipients was Selma Middle C.H.A.T. Academy in Selma Alabama.  In a recent article by Caleb R. Johnson of the Selma Times-Journal, students and teachers discuss the impact the shade structure has had on them.  They are a predominantly African-American school, where many of the students have long believed that their dark skin pigmentation protects them from the harmful effects of UV radiation.  The school?s administration used the $8,000 grant to erect a 26 x 26 foot canopy.  The new canopy has prompted discussion among the students and teachers about sun safety.  In an effort to capitalize on the new found interest in sun safety, teachers have asked the students to create a portfolio on skin cancer, specifically melanoma, how to recognize it, and how to prevent it.

This is just one example of how shade structures can do more than simply provide much need protection from UV radiation.  The installation of a new shade structure invites opportunities for students to learn about and teachers to educate about sun safety. 


Johnson. Caleb R. "Canopy at C.H.A.T. provides health lesson," Selma Times-Journal 02/06/2009. 15 Feb 2009 <>  

The American Academy of Dermatology (


^return to top

Concrete, asphalt, sand, water, and snow reflect UV rays

Reflective UV radiation is a year round hazard.  During the summer it increases the already intense levels of UV radiation that our skin receives from direct exposure to the sun.  UV rays are reflected off of concrete, asphalt, sand, and water.  During the winter snow and rain are an added risk. 

Sun safe behaviors should be encouraged and practiced all year.  It is important to wear sun safe clothing, including hats, in order to protect your skin from the damaging effects of UV radiation.  In addition, to sun safe clothing, sun screen should be worn whenever you plan on being outdoors for more than a few minutes.   

It isn't just sunny days that should be a concern; many people mistakenly believe that it is safe to be outside without sun protection on overcast days.  On the contrary, clouds keep much of the sun's infrared radiation from reaching the earth (so we feel cooler), but they still allow as much as 80% of the harmful UV radiation to pass through.  For more information about UV rays click here.





^return to top

5 Signs of Skin Cancer Other Than a New Mole
While it's important to know the guidelines for identifying ... more>>>

Schools & Their Sunscreen Rules
News reports are full of stories about kids who come home blister... more>>>

Indoor tanning's popularity among teens going down, CDC says
Two new studies released by the CDC looked at the prevalence of ... more>>>

News Archive

Sun Safe Colorado Home Page