According to WHO, prevention is the best way to avoid skin cancer and that is why it is essential to take precautions when we are going to be out under the sun for a long period of time.

Here are some key recommendations to implement based on the different UV indexes:

  • Low UV index (0-2):

Even though the risk of being harmed is low, it still is essential to take precautions.

Recommendations: apply sunscreen with a protection factor of 30 as a minimum, use sunglasses with UV protection, and consider the possibility of wearing a hat and light-coloured protective clothes if you spend a lot of time outdoors.

  • Moderate UV index (3-5):

Take precautions especially during midday when UV rays are more intense.

Recommendations: use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, wear sunglasses with UV protection, find shade during the hours with more sunlight (normally between 10 am and 4 pm), and cover exposed skin with clothes.

  • High UV index (6-7):

Protect yourself from sun exposure to reduce the risk of being harmed.

Recommendations: apply sunscreen with SPF 30 as a minimum and apply it again every two hours, wear protective clothes, even a hat and long sleeve shirts, and stay under the shade during midday.

  • Very high UV index (8-10):

Take additional precautions to avoid prolonged sun exposure.

Recommendations: reduce to the minimum outdoor activities during midday, wear protective clothes, and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or more.

  • Extreme UV index (11+):

The risk of being harmed by the sun is exceptionally high, maximise precautions.

Recommendations: avoid sun exposure during midday hours, wear protective clothes, use sunscreen with SPF 30 or more, and consider the possibility of wearing sunglasses with a UV filter.

It is important to consider that the UV index varies according to the location, the hour of the day, the season, and the meteorological conditions. Every person should look up the UV index in their area through meteorological websites or mobile apps. Furthermore, if you are a person with a light skin tone, have a skin cancer history, or have photosensitivity, you will probably have to take more precautions to protect your health.

General recommendations:

WHO recommends the following measurements of protection against excessive exposure to UV rays:

  • Limited time exposure to the sun at midday, shade will always be our best ally.
  • Use protective clothes, such as hats that can protect our eyes, face, ears, and neck.
  • Do not forget to wear sunglasses that can guarantee 99% to 100% protection against ultraviolet rays A and B.
  • Apply sunscreen to the skin that cannot be covered with clothes 20 minutes before sun exposure. Discover how to correctly apply sunscreen
  • Do not use artificial tanning appliances because they increase the risk of developing skin cancer. Artificial tanning should never be used to get a sufficient level of vitamin D.

UV rays’ recommendations to take into consideration before doing physical activity:

  • Protect yourself when doing exercise between 10 am and 3 pm, during these hours there is a higher UV concentration.
  • Use light-coloured clothing.
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