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Stay Protected Against Harmful Infrared Rays With Caribbean Blinds

Infrared rays linked to skin cancer & ageing

It was reported in the news last week that whilst conventional sunscreens successfully block ultraviolet light, many fail to prevent harmful infrared rays from reaching our skin which could prove detrimental to our health. In fact, one particular type of infrared, infrared A, can infiltrate the skin at a deeper level than ultraviolet. Worryingly, only a couple of sunscreens currently available in the UK offer any protection at all from infrared rays.

So how do infrared rays work? Firstly, infrared rays were originally discovered in 1800 and whilst they are invisible to the naked eye, they are responsible for transmitting heat, raising skin temperature and generating the warmth we feel when sitting in the sun. Infrared radiation is one of three ways that heat is transferred from one place to another and makes up almost half of all the sun's energy as demonstrated in the diagram below.

Essentially, the hotter an object, the more radiation it emits. For example, when radiation strikes glass, or any object for that matter, some of the sun's heat radiation is trapped. This then causes indoor temperatures to rise significantly, hence the demand for solar shading solutions to block this radiation and restore much cooler and comfortable interior temperatures.

With recent research suggesting infrared A may contribute to skin cancer when combined with exposure to UVB, the need to protect our skin has never been greater. Additionally, many scientists are convinced infrared A may play a large part in the ageing process of our skin. For example, some believe it alters the biological processes involved with maintaining healthy skin cells, affecting the production of collagen and therefore producing wrinkles.

Whilst this 'is the subject of ongoing research,' it has been suggested we ought to do more in order to protect ourselves from these types of rays, particularly when spending a prolonged length of time enjoying the sun. Dr Nick Lowe, a consultant dermatologist at London's Cranley Clinic, says taking lycopene (an antioxidant found in tomatoes and red fruit) can help protect against these rays. Having said this, many have argued a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, particularly tomatoes, could have the same positive effect.

As mentioned, one of the most effective ways we can protect ourselves in our own homes is by preventing this occurrence of shortwave radiation with a solar shading solution. For example, when an exterior roller blind is installed in front of a window, it blocks up to 96% of the sun's incoming shortwave radiation as the majority of the sun's energy is either reflected or absorbed by the material.

An example of a window that would benefit from a solar shading solution. 

The radiation that is absorbed is re-radiated as longer infrared 'heat' rays, some towards the glazing but none of these are transmitted through the glass due to the longer wavelength. Therefore, this provides a much cooler, and completely safe environment for you and your family to enjoy with total peace of mind that you're fully protected against any harmful infrared or ultraviolet rays.

External Roller Blinds
One of our External Roller Blind installations. 

If you'd like to find out more about our solar shading solutions, check out our Shading Guide or request a brochure showcasing our full range of innovative products.