The Ultra Violet (UV) Index
The ultraviolet index or UV Index is an international standard measurement of the strength of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun at a particular place and time.
Ultraviolet (UV) light is electromagnetic radiation present in sunlight and other sources, like solariums. Our skin reacts differently to UV-A and UV-B rays. It is the UV rays that give us a tan, but also sunburn if we overexpose our skin to sunshine. The key to healthier tanning and a safer time out in the sun is to avoid sunburn. That means knowing how strong the UV radiation is at any given moment, and what that means for your skin type.
The scale was developed by Canadian scientists in 1992, then adopted and standardized by the UN’s World Health Organization and World Meteorological Organization in 1994 (Wikipedia).
The Norwegian Radiation Authority reccomend being generally cautious with strong UV intensity (UV index 6-7), and special care must be taken when experiencing VERY STRONG UV intensity (UV index 8 and higher).
Reading the UV Dose
Using the SunSense One, radiation dose is indicated on the 2-digit display and with audio signals. One hour of sun exposure at intensity level 1 will give a value of 1.0. One hour in the sun at intensity 4 will give a value of 4.0.
A Guide to Skin Types
Depending on the tone of your skin, you may be more or less susceptible to burning and ultimately skin cancer. Your skin type will determine what level of dosage and exposure you are able to handle. What’s Your Type?
Skin Type 1
Gets sunburned/turns red easily and seldom/never gets a tan. Has light, sensitive skin and sometimes freckles.
Skin Type 2
Will almost always turn red and sometimes get a tan. Has fair skin and blond hair often.
Skin Type 3
Usually has an olive tone to skin. Will sometimes turn red, but will always tan after a while.
Skin Type 4
Has darker skin and usually darker hair. Almost never gets red skin or sunburns.
Skin Type 5
Has natural black / brown skin and usually dark brown eyes and black / brown hair. Almost never gets burned
Protection from over-exposure doesn’t stop with sunscreen
The use of sunscreen will increase the maximum UV-values and exposure time before sunburns occur. The amount of extra protection depends on the Sun Protection Factor (SPF). Always read the manufacturer’s recommendations on use, amount needed and SPF. Observe that an SPF of for example 10 doesn’t automatically mean you can stay out in the sun 10 times longer that without sunscreen. Sunscreen may also have different levels of protection for UV-A and UV-B. We recommend using skin friendly sunscreens with both UV-A and UV-B protection.
Some sunscreen products block UV-B but not UVA-A. UV-B is the trigger that causes the body to produce melanin, giving skin its brown colour and protects it by actually giving you thicker, tougher skin that absorbs UV-A radiation. By blocking UV-B only, the body’s own protection remains inactive, while the UV-A dose is much higher than it would normally be.
We also often use less sunscreen lotion than the manufacturer recommends in order to get the stated Sun Protection Factor, essentially reducing the effectiveness of the sunscreen.
SunSense technology is the sensible way to monitor your UV-exposure. If you need to use sunscreen, make sure it uses safe and efficient ingredients and blocks both UV-A and UV-B.