The skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from natural or artificial sources on a daily basis. The effects of chronic low dose exposure merit investigation, even when these effects are neither conspicuous nor clinically assessable. The purpose of the present study was to define a relative spectral UV irradiance that is representative of frequent nonextreme sun exposure conditions and therefore more appropriate for studies of the long-term and daily effects of solar UV on the skin. Solar spectral UV irradiance values were calculated for different dates and locations by using a radiative transfer model. The spectral irradiance values obtained when the solar elevation is lower than 45° were averaged. An important feature is the dUVA (320–400 nm) to dUVB (290–320 nm) irradiance values ratio, which was found to be 27.3 for the overall average. When the months corresponding to extreme irradiance values (low or high) were excluded from the calculations, the dUVA to dUVB ratio ranged from 27.2 to 27.5. The mean spectral irradiance of the model presented here represents environmental UV exposure conditions and can be used both as a standard to investigate the biological effects of a nonextreme UVR and to assess the effectiveness of products for daily skin protection.
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Vol. 81 • No. 4