What is a UV Index, and at what level should I be concerned about applying sunscreen?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has categorized UV Index based on the risk of sunburn and skin cancer. If your UV Index is 3 or greater, you should apply sunscreen, with an SPF of 30.

The ultraviolet index, or UV index, is an international standard measurement of the strength of UVB radiation to cause sunburn. The National Weather Service reports a UV Index as a next-day forecast of UV Radiation expected to reach the earth’s surface.

UVA radiation is responsible for skin damage resulting in lines, hyper/hypopigmentation, and dryness. UVB radiation is responsible for the burning effect and damage that can increase the risk of skin cancer.

There are ranges of UV Index. The World Health Organization standardized the UV Index classifications worldwide. UV Index ranges from low 1-2, moderate 3-5, high 6-7, very high 8-10 Extreme 11 or greater. Worldwide, the highest UV index is from solar noon to 4 pm.

The UV Index can range from zero at night to 15-16 at noon in the tropics. Sarasota Florida is considered a tropical savanna climate. In January and February, the average UV Index for Sarasota is 3-5, but in May and June, it is 10-11.
A UV index score reported with the daily weather; it can also be googled what is the UV index for today for Sarasota Fl.

May is Skin Cancer Prevention Month! The University of Texas, MD Anderson Center reviewed a series of research studies evaluating the protection of various SPF levels. The conclusion, a Sunscreen with an SPF of 30 will block UVB Radiation at 97%, an SPF of 50 blocks 98% of UVB Radiation, and an SPF of 100 stops 99% of UVB Radiation from damaging your skin.

If you have a history of sunburn, unprotected sun exposure, or a family history of melanoma, the ADA recommends a total body skin check annually. Contact PHDermatology Sarasota at Ph. 941-957-4767 for a consultation/appointment.

Follow our weekly blog for more tips and answers to your questions regarding Skin Health and loving the skin you are in! Nancy Gardner Ph.D., Nurse Practitioner at South Osprey Dermatology Associates in Sarasota Florida.