A Guide to Sun Safety

If you watch the evening news, you’ve probably seen the UV (ultraviolet) Index listed during the weather report. But what does it really mean in terms of sun safety?

The index is a next-day forecast that estimates the amount of ultraviolet radiation that will reach the earth’s surface, providing important information to help individuals prevent overexposure to the sun’s rays. The Index also includes the effects of cloud cover on the anticipated UV exposure level for the next day.

According to Barnabas Health dermatologists, while some UV radiation is essential to the body because it stimulates the production of vitamin D, UV exposure should be limited to avoid permanent damage to the skin and eyes. The dermatologists encourage individuals to be aware of the UV Index and understand its impact.

UV Index Guide

0-2 (Low)
Danger from the sun’s UV rays for the average person is low, but those who burn easily should cover up and use sunscreen with at least SPF (sun protection factor) 15.

3-5 (Moderate)
Take precautions if outside. Stay in shade near midday.

6-7 (High)
Individuals may be at high risk of harm from unprotected exposure to the sun. Cover up and wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Wear sunscreen with at least SPF 15, as protection against sunburn is needed. Reduce time in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

8-10 (Very High)
Take extra precautions. Minimize exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Cover up and wear a hat and sunglasses. Wear at least SPF 15 sunscreen.

11+ (Extreme)
Individuals are at extreme risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. Follow all of the above suggestions for protection from the sun.


For additional information about how to protect yourself from the sun, visit the Barnabas Health online Health Library at healthlibrary.barnabashealth.org.