There are new physical component sun blocks found in local drugstores to help protect skin this summer. The sun block’s components include titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which are used as protection from ultraviolet A, ultraviolet B and infrared radiation.
“If you could look under a microscope you could see that these were crushed minerals that actually lay on the skin and overlap one another, almost like fish scales," said Mary Ronnow, the owner of the Skin Institute in St. George, Utah. "The UV rays hit these minerals and bounce off. It acts by reflection and refraction, almost like a mirror. Tanning means injury. Because it’s our own bodies response to a sunburn. Anytime that our body produces a tan it means that our skin’s been injured or damaged.”
The ozone layer, which protects us from ultraviolet radiation coming from the sun, is undergoing depletion now more than it has in the past.
“When it gets depleted, when you get less ozone, high up in the atmosphere, more ultraviolet B radiation reaches earth," said Dr. Peter Ward, who worked with the United States Geological Survey. "And this is the radiation that causes sunburn, skin cancer, and also helps you produce Vitamin D, which is very important. The main cause of the ozone depletion was a production of chloroform carbon gases by man. Starting mainly in the 1960s. And this lead to these gases, when they get high up in the atmosphere, can be broken down into chlorine atoms that are very destructive of ozone.”
Ward said one of the things that leads to ozone depletion is major summer storms that circulate chlorine and bomine in regions such as Utah and East toward Mississippi.
If Ronnow could give any advice about protecting skin from UV rays it would be, "wear a hat, wear sunglasses, wear protective clothing.”