UV Index and Your Skin – Jill Sung

21 May

Thanks, EPA! Click on me to read this monster table

We love our skin and we want to protect it, but what’s all this stuff about UV radiation, sun protection, SPF, UVA, UVB? So many words and abbreviations, so little time. Last time, we discussed UV radiation very briefly, and then skin type and why it is important to know your type. Okay, you say, I know my Fitzpatrick skin type, what do I do now? Remember that UV radiation’s effect on your skin depends not just on your skin type, but also on the amount of sun exposure you recently received and you will receive.

How Much UV is Really Out There?

The UV Index is a nifty number created by the EPA and National Weather Service that is calculated daily (1 day prior) which indicates the strength of solar UV radiation that reaches the Earth through the protective ozone layer on a scale of 1 (low) to 11+ (very high). And conveniently, you can find your location on a map or enter your zip code/city and state to get the UV index for your location. I just checked for New York (it’s cloudy and muggy today), and our it’s a UV Index of 6/High.  So there’s one jewel of information – EVEN CLOUDY DAYS HAVE LOTS OF UV!

Tips for Skin Health related to UV Index

  • Check the UV Index daily: links to downloadable apps and facebook or bookmark the website link for UV index
  • UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m (long shadow- less exposure; short shadow/mid-day – more exposure)
  • Water, Snow and Sand (sometimes even clouds)  reflect the damaging rays of the sun which can increase your chance of sunburn – sometimes doubling your UV radiation exposure!
  • High elevations = more UV exposure

So add this to your list of good habits! And let me know what other helpful tips you know or do to check and deal with your daily sun exposure. Next time…what to wear! My favorite…

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