The Sun, like any star, emits vast quantities of energy across a range of wavelengths. The light that's visible to us is only a small fraction of this energy. The human eye can only perceive electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths between 400 and 700 nanometres (nm), which is called visible light. Violet light, at 400 nm wavelength, and red light, at 700 nm, are the upper and lower boundaries of our ability to see radiation.
The smaller the wavelength, the higher the frequency, resulting in greater power and damage. Long-wavelength, low-frequency emissions that are beyond the visible spectrum, such as radio waves, are felt to be harmless, although longer wavelengths generally have greater penetrating power (for instance, radio waves pass through things light can't pass through). This is the same as with sound waves: you can hear the low, rumbling and thumping parts of the sound from your neighbour's stereo, and not the high notes, but it's the high, shrill notes that can hurt your ears.
Much of the energy emitted by the Sun is shorter-wave, more powerful radiation, most of it in the form of ultraviolet (UV) light. UV light's place on the electromagnetic spectrum is immediately above the most energetic form of visible light, which is violet.
UV is classified into 3 degrees of energy: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVC has the shortest wavelength and the most energy, but it doesn't reach the Earth's surface because it's stopped by ozone in the Earth's atmosphere. UVA has the longest wavelength, the least energy, and the most penetrating power of the 3 types. UVB light is between the UVA and UVC in wavelength and energy.
Of all the UV light that reaches the Earth, about 95% of it is UVA. Because it has the least energy, it's less likely to burn skin than UVB, but because there's so much UVA, it plays a part in most sunburns.
Just as UVA penetrates the atmosphere better than more potent UVB and UVC, it also penetrates deeper into the skin. On a microscopic scale, UVA light is more likely than UVB to penetrate the upper skin layers and be absorbed by the basal skin layer. Although it's 1,000 times less potent than UVB, UVA exposure is believed by many experts to be more relevant to wrinkling and aging of the skin, and possibly to skin cancer.