Do you check the UV Index?
Updated: Jul 5, 2019
During the summer months I check the UV Index quite often. The index is quite versatile throughout the day and when it is too high, I make sure I have a hat with me!
This is a very quick post and its going to focus on #facts on UV Index (on safety terms) and some little facts on SPF.
What is UVI?
According to the World Health Organization, “The UVI is a measure of the level of UV radiation. The values of the index range from zero upward - the higher the UVI, the greater the potential for damage to the skin and eye, and the less time it takes for harm to occur. The UVI is an important vehicle to alert people about the need to use sun protection.”
That is a direct statement from their website. I didn’t want to paraphrase it to avoid any changes to the context of the statement above.
Where can I find the UVI?
It is available on most weather forecasts. I have an iPhone so I check it on the weather app. You can find it on the bottom right!
Keep in mind that the levels of UV radiation and values of the index vary. Usually the highest level can occurs during the four-hour period around solar noon (between 12:00 - 16:00)
The two graphs above give a minor overview of the different levels of radiation. Keep in mind that both of these are mainly based on the fair skinned population. But it does give a good overview. The one from WHO does not specify what kind of SPF you'll need. So I did some additional reseach determine that. I found some from EPA and they are recommending SPF15 for the range of UVI of 3-7 which is a wide range. Where in fact based on some other research it shows that for an UVI of 6-7 it is recommended to wear SPF30 as some do burn fast when it is in that range.
Bottomline, it depends on your skin and you need to determine at what level protection is necessary to avoid damage.
What SPF should I use? Physical or chemical?
If you want my opinion, I would say physical or mineral SPF such as Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide.
Personally I am a little against chemical SPF due to one experience and also for my love of the ocean. What does the ocean have anything to do with this? Scientists have found that the chemicals in the SPF are causing the most damage to corals. Oxybenzone and octinoxate are causing coral bleaching and dna damage that is causing the death of corals. They have also seen that it is toxic to fish and algae.
Furthermore, a new FDA has recently been conducted with 24 healthy volunteers and they were randomly assigned chemical suncream that contained avobenzone, oxybenzone or octocrylene. All results had high levels of the chemical in their blood as well as breast milk. If you want more details on this feel free to read the article from a CNN titled " Sunscreen Enters Bloodstream after just one day of use, study says". You'll also find a video which tells you why you shouldn't wear some SPF and also explains what it does to corals and how it's affecting the reef.
Difference of SPF levels?
SPF 8 blocks 87% of UV Rays
SPF 15 blocks 93% of UV Rays
SPF 30 blocks 97% of UV Rays
SPF 50 blocks 98% of UV Rays
The difference between SPF 30 and SPF 50 is 1%
Notes: Sadly, this is only about safety and not hyper pigmentation. For those, who get hyper pigmentation due to the sun or have freckles, need SPF no matter what. Also, remember that you need to re-apply SPF every 3 hours.
If you have any questions or need a recommendation of a good physical SPF, feel free to leave a comment below.