What is the Sunburn Index and How Do I Use It?

The sunburn index, otherwise known as the UV Index is a calculated estimate drawn up by the National Weather Service and Environmental Protection Agency that provides information on differential risks of sun poisoning and sunburn on specific days.

With an indexing factor that ranges from 0 to 10, the sunburn index is calculated taking into account a number of factors such as latitude, elevation, cloud cover, ozone layers and more. Let us get into a few more details on understanding what the sunburn index is and how it affects us.

What is the UV Index?

The UV index as its name suggests is the level of ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun upon radiation at a particular place at a particular time. The main purpose of the ultraviolet index is to help the general public understand the harmful effects of sun poisoning and provide them with substantial data so as to know how they can avoid it. Ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun have harmful effects on the human body and if not taken care of in an adequate manner, will lead to elevated complications such as sunburn, cataract and other eye damage, skin cancer and skin ageing as well as blood problems. Most well reputed public health organizations chalk out a sunburn index so as to recommend to people what protection they can use to avoid sun poisoning and these problems.

In order to understand the UV index, it can be best explained with its values alongside its description and recommended protection. A table on understanding this is mentioned below.

UV Index
Protection Recommended
0 – 2
No Possibility of Danger.
Wear shades, hats and avoid the sun. Use sunscreen only if it snows.
3 – 5
Little or No Risk from Sun Rays
Use of sunscreen is
advised with SPF 30+
6 – 7
High Risk from Sun Exposure
Use of sunscreen is advised
with SPF 30+. Avoid going out.
8 – 10
Very High Risk
Use of sunscreen is advised
with SPF 30+. Stay hydrated.
11 & Above
Extreme Risk & Care Needed
Take all precautions. Use sunscreen, shades, hats, and avoid travelling in the heat.

A lot of people tend to not pay attention to the UV Index and avoid carrying their protective gear with them. For complete protection, it is always recommend that one finds out what is the Sunburn index of the day at the place where they would be and thereby ascertain what sunscreen they would need to carry along with them. Ignoring the UV Index could result in second degree sunburns or sun poisoning or possibly have long term effects on your skin.