A big part of sun safety and UV protection is planning. This includes planning based on the weather, the UV Index, your activity and the time of day. Plus, and perhaps most importantly, planning with the right protection, such as UPF clothing with UV protection. With good planning, however, you don’t ever have to avoid the sun. You do, however, need to be careful about when you’re most exposed. Continue below for guidance on when to limit your sun exposure, and how to defend yourself with UPF clothing.
The Weather and UV Exposure
The first thing to consider when planning to be sun safe is the weather. Keep in mind, of course, that looks can be deceiving, and weather can quickly change. For example, even cloudy days pose a risk for UV damage as UV rays penetrate through clouds. Also, cold weather, and even a snow day, can still create a high risk of sun damage. UV rays are persistent throughout all four seasons, so sun safety can’t take a holiday in the winter. What’s more, if you’ve ever been hiking, fishing or spent the day at the beach, you probably know that the weather one minute could be completely different in an hour. So the best weather planning is to plan for any weather with UPF clothing that works well in any condition, such as a long sleeve sun shirt.
The Ultraviolet Index and Sun Safety
The National Weather Service (NSS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) together created an Ultraviolet Index. This UV index is used to measure the day’s forecasted levels of ultraviolet rays. This index goes from 0-11+ and should be checked prior to any prolonged outdoor activity, especially if you can’t avoid exposing your skin. 0-2 means low risks, but sun protection is still recommended. A UV Index rating of 3-7 indicates moderate to high risk, which demands carefully avoiding prolonged sun exposure, using sunscreen and covering up with UPF clothing as much as possible. Anything from 8+ represents a very high to extreme risk, and you should absolutely wear UPF sun protective clothing. Plus, all areas not covered by UPF clothing should be generously covered in broad spectrum sunscreen.
Activity-based Sun Safety
The next critical factor in planning ahead to ensure sun safety is in considering your expected activity. For instance, beach volleyball demands that you’re out in the sun, and you may not be able to wear a wide-brimmed sun protective hat. As a result, you need to plan ahead and use the shade when possible, and apply plenty of sunscreen to your face, head and neck. Also, make sure you apply your sunscreen 30 minutes in advance of being out in the sun.
Time of Day and Sun Safety
One of the biggest factors in planning for sun exposure depends on the time of day. In most parts of the world, the sun is highest–and therefore the strongest–between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM. A great tip for determining your sun risk is to look at your shadow. If your shadow is taller than you, then your risk is lower (but sun safety is still critical). On the other hand, if your shadow is shorter than you, then your risk is highest as the sun is more directly overhead. In these cases, you’re closer to midday and should seek shade or stay indoors. Unless, of course, you planned ahead with UPF clothing, like our Sun Bound collection, which is rated to block over 98% of UV rays.
Planning with UPF Clothing
Lastly, plan ahead with UPF sun protective clothing, like Rayward Apparel’s sun shirt collection, and you don’t ever need to avoid the sun. Instead, you just need to be sun smart and prepared for anything. Rayward Apparel, we know the world revolves around the sun, but your life shouldn’t. Enjoy More Adventure, Less Exposure—no matter the weather, UV index, or time day—when you safely protect yourself with our lightweight UPF apparel.