The Difference Between UV Light and Black Light


When reading about uv light, there are these two terms that seem to be confusing: UV light and black light.

In a nutshell, there isn’t quite a difference, but a misunderstanding of the terms. Black light is nothing but UVA light, while UV light is basically composed out of UVA, UVB and UVC. So in other words, black light is UV light(450-100nm), covering the 400-320nm spectrum.

To better understand the difference, it’s essential to know what each of the terms means. Today, am going to help you with that, starting with the very basic definitions.


Definition of ultraviolet light

Ultraviolet light is an electromagnetic radiation or light that is in between the visible spectrum and x-beams. Ultraviolet light is light with the wavelength in the range of 10 nm to 400 nm with energies from 3eV to 124 eV. Ultraviolet light gets its name since it is the light nearest to the violet part of visible light.

Ultraviolet light is a section of the electromagnetic spectrum that reaches the earth from the sun. It has wavelengths shorter than normal visible light, making it invisible to the naked eye.



The colors we see are controlled by the wavelength of light vitality. Unlike some insects, people can just view the spectrum from red to violet. In any case, other invisible “colors” exist above and underneath this spectrum. The “color” of above red is called infrared, and the color underneath violet is called ultraviolet. Ultraviolet light will make fluorescent or luminous pigments fluoresce, emanating visible light.

The ultraviolet spectrum is separated into subcategories depending on the wavelength:

  • 450 – 400 nm Violet, (visible light)
  • 400 – 320 nm UVA, Long Wave, Black Light
  • 320 – 280 nm UVB, Medium Wave
  • 280 – 100 nm Short Wave, Germicidal


Types of UV Bands

Ultraviolet radiation can be broken down into three distinct bands: UVA, UVB, and UVC.

With considerably shorter rays, most UVC is absorbed by the ozone layer and does not reach the earth. Both UVA and UVB, be that as it may, infiltrate the atmosphere and leads to skin problems, for example, premature skin aging. By harming the skins cell DNA, extreme UV radiation produces genetic changes that can cause skin disease.


UVA Rays:

UVA has the longest wavelength compared with three bands. Its wavelength ranges between 320–400 nanometers. UVA rays represent up to 95% of the UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. They go through the ozone layer and reach the earth. They are available with moderately measure up to force during all daylight hours consistently. UVA rays are powerful to the point that they also enter some garments, mists and even glass. Likewise, UVA rays contribute to skin maturing and wrinkling because they can infiltrate deep into the skin, harming the cells underneath.

UVA is the powerful tanning beam. Tan results from damage to the skin’s DNA; the skin darkens in an endeavor to avoid further DNA harm. UVA may serve to cause the most dangerous type of skin cancer. These incorporate melanoma. As indicated by late research, first exposure to tanning beds before the age of 30 builds danger of skin malignancy by 75%.Recently, thinks about have distinguished that this type of radiation influences the body’s immune system and goes about as an immunosuppressive agent. Research has also demonstrated that exposure to UVA causes a substantial fall in the bodies in susceptible cells which like this make it simpler for threatening cells to develop.


UVB Rays:

UVB wavelength is 290-320 nm. UVB rays intensity varies depending on the season, area, and time of day. They are most prevalent in northern half of the globe summer months or when parts of the earth orbit nearest to the sun. UVB rays, the prime reason for skin blushing and sunburn tends to harm the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers. They can likewise prompt the advancement of skin malignancies. It assumes a contributory part in tanning and photo aging.

Not at all like UVA rays, these rays aren’t a similar quality year round – They’re more common in the late spring months, in any case, they can reflect off of water or snow, so it’s constantly imperative to secure yourself year-round. UVB rays are in charge of bringing on most skin malignancies. While extensive measurements of UVA rays can add to a tumor, it’s the UVB rays that are generally to the fault.


UVC Rays:

UVC rays have the wavelength of 200-290 nm. These rays have the shortest wavelength. They are the most hazardous among all the rays. Be that as it may, these rays don’t reach the earth’s surface as the ozone layer totally absorbs them.


Definition of Black Light

A “black light” is a specific type of ultraviolet light. It emanates ultraviolet radiation for the most part in the long-wave UV-A region. The glass has a filter which stops the majority of the visible light and short-wave UV. In spite of the fact that UV-A is safe, it can result in any case damage your eyes if they’re exposed to it for a long time.

Therefore, a black light is part of the UV light. Black lights emit ultraviolet radiation (UV light) in the UV-A band.

UVA rays are the longest-wavelength, most lowest-energy type of UV radiation and the type that is less harmful. It’s the UVB, and UVC rays in sunlight that leads to the most damage continued exposure to which can cause sunburn and skin cancer.


Black Lights

The term black light refers to a specific type of lightnormally fluorescent – with a unique luminous covering that produces UV radiation in the UVA range.

Phosphorescence is a process by which materials emit put stored energy gradually, like visible light. It is commonly used as a part of “glow-in-the-dark” materials, which absorb energy through exposure to light and after that emanate it gradually in darkness, giving off a soft gleam.


How Black Light Functions

You have likely seen black lights at entertainment parks, science museums, and Halloween shows. Black lights may look simply like typical fluorescent lights or radiant light bulbs. However, they do something totally different. Switch one on, and white garments, teeth, and different things shine oblivious.

The regular black light outline is only a fluorescent light with two or three critical modifications. Fluorescent lights generate light by passing electricity through a tube loaded with inert gas and a small amount of mercury.

When invigorated or energized, mercury molecules radiate energy as light photons. They radiate some visible light photons, however, for the most part; they transmit photons in the ultraviolet (UV) wavelength range. Since UV light waves are invisible to the human eye, fluorescent lights need to change this energy into visible light. They do this with a phosphor covering around the outside of the tube.


Black Light vs Black Light Blue

Terms for black light bulbs are somewhat different than for the apparatuses. Black light installations contain a knob called a “Black Light Blue” or BLB bulb. This bulb utilizes cobalt blue glass and emanates little purple visible light in addition to the long wave ultraviolet light.

There are additionally “Black Light” or BL bulbs. These bulbs are made of a reflective glass and emanate an expansive measure of visible blue light alongside the long wave ultraviolet light. BL bulbs are frequently utilized as a part of bug catchers.

BL bulbs emit longer wave UV than BLB bulbs. However, it’s hard to see objects fluoresce because of the substantial volume of visible light. Moreover, BL bulbs will bring about your ‘night vision’ to correct to the splendid light. The outcome is that when you kill a BL light, your sparkle oblivious things will seem to glean less.

At the point when a large number of people allude to black light, they truly mean black light blue.

UV rays give respond melanin. Melanin is a powerful protection against the sun since melanin absorbs UV rays before they can hamper your skin. Melanin causes the color of the skin. At the point when melanin increases because of sun exposure, the skin starts to tan.

As above, UV rays are a piece of how the energy from the sun reaches the earth (UVA, UVB). Risk factors associated with the improvement of skin growth. Protect your skin by sun blocks or sunscreens which guard against UVA and UVB rays or “expansive spectrum scope” and you ought to abstain from being in the sun between 10 am and 4 pm because that is the period when the sun is at the pinnacle.


Applications of black light:

Antique inspection

Black light testing is a typical practice used to validate antiques, to determine genuineness and the degree of repairs.

Black lights are used as a part of assessing antiques for the reason that the ultraviolet beams they create respond differently to various materials. Due to these intriguing characteristics, things that are obscure to the eye end up noticeably observable under the black light.

Various chemical properties end up noticeably evident when exposed to black light. Current paint will incandesce or sparkle when exposed black light; older paints won’t. You can make use this to decide if a painted material is an antique or a newer reproduction and in addition to determining if a section has been modified and if thus, how intense was the repair. A similar procedure can be utilized to recognize repairs on traditional porcelain as the old complete won’t gleam under a black light, and the more current objects in the repair will.


Scorpion illumination

Scorpions camouflage with their natural habitat, and they are difficult to see. UV flashlights are utilized by a people to discover scorpions, especially outdoors at night time.

Some scorpion species appear as a brilliant green under UV light and can be discovered all the more effortlessly with the black light. It is fascinating to note that a dark red light that is on the opposite side of the perceptible range from ultraviolet is utilized when getting nightcrawlers during the evening since they are touchy about different colors.


Forgery Detection

From cash to work of art, fakes and forgery regularly appear differently under black light.

Bank notes additionally incorporate fluorescent colors, which sparkle under exposure to black light. To enable fluorescence, the dye is infused with luminous solids that emit a specific colored gleam when exposed to UV light. Many entrepreneurs keep a black light behind the counter to examine bills for the typical markings which are intended to sparkle under UV. Works of art that are modified to look matched in color to the eye will frequently indicate stark differences in fluorescence because of changes in the paint. UV can permit you to see large portions of these shrouded points of interest.


Mineral identification

A few minerals show what is known as the marvel of photoluminescence. This just implies they “gleam” when introduced to black light. A portion of the minerals that create distinct shade lights under UV radiation incorporates Opal, Fluorite, Willemite, Calcite, Dolomite, Apatit and Quartz.

You may utilize either the UV light installation or versatile UV light for minerals.


Art inspection

In artwork, the current paint will shine or gleam under a black light; older paints won’t. In this manner, portraits that have been modified with present day paint will sparkle.

Repairs or hairline breaks may appear and turn out to be more evident under black light.


Detecting some bacteria

A few microorganisms fluoresce under black light. Fluorescent microbes incorporate a few strains of Salmonella and Shigella.

Microorganisms may likewise be hereditarily modified to end up noticeably fluorescent. This might be achieved by exposure of a gene that leads to the production of green fluorescent proteins. Fluorescence will make it possible to monitor development and trace the distribution of microscopic organisms in different environments.



Black lights are utilized to help effects of Psoriasis, and black light is utilized as a part of such treatment. UV is at the upper end of the full spectrum visible light which seems to help in the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder. UV light leads to the production of vitamin D when the skin is exposed to it, and exposure to UV helps the body retain calcium and research extend into the realm of the drug. Late medicinal improvements incorporate fluorescent colors utilized as a part of conjunction with a black light to identify destructive cells in the inward organs of patients.



Black light operates at a different wavelength than visible light and can make certain items fluorescent when a Black light is held over them. It contains UV spectrum light, which is not visible. A black light still emits UV, but essentially UVA. The way the lights are produced, they block most of the visible light, so you only see the purple portions. Wherever, in a tanning bed, the visible portions are not blocked in the fluorescent lamps.

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Passionate about everything that shines, settled down on UV(ultraviolet) lights. I'm motivated and with a mission to help people live a better life!

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  1. Like the article. But want to know whether a specific UV wavelength is best for detecting repairs in porcelain and antiques.



  2. I had no idea that a black light was a specific type of UV light that used a filter to stop most visible light. I’ve been wanting to learn more about bicolor lights and other things, so this is quite interesting to know. I’ve actually been wanting to get a UV light, so that I can teach my children about germs.

  3. Ok. So how do I judge one black light against the other? I need something that Will make stuff LIGHT UP EASILY AND BRIGHTLY!!! I need preferably a flashlight for scanning rooms for pet strains. Currently I have a 3 foot light that you have to get almost RIGHT ON the spot. Please help me find a good light… preferably no more than $60.

    • If you’ve not found anything yet Amazon is loaded with options…Just search UV Flashlight & you will get all the options you could ever need to choose from! I bought a really nice one for $12.

  4. I have a UV black light in my home, it only emits purple light, not UV Blue. I like the ambience it creates and use it instead of regular light in the evening. It certainly does not produce a tan, but I often have it on for hours at a time. It’s also easier to fall asleep with it on.

    My question is: how much exposure like this will create negative impacts on my skin (premature aging) or give me an increased risk for skin cancer?

  5. I think your eyes are the higher risk. Your skin will get damaged but your eyes will be affected beyond repai with repeated exposure. Just sayim.


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