What is UV?

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a type of energy produced by the sun and some artificial sources, such as solariums. UV radiation is not like the sun's light or heat, which we can see and feel. Your senses cannot detect UV radiation, so you will not notice the damage until it’s been done.

The sun's UV is the main cause of skin cancer. Too much UV exposure also causes sunburn, tanning, premature ageing and eye damage.

UV can reach you directly from the sun, and even with cloud cover. It can also be reflected off different surfaces (e.g. fresh snow, beach sand or sea) and scattered by particles in the air.

The UV level is affected by a number of factors including the time of day, time of year, cloud cover, altitude, location and surrounding surfaces

The UV Index

1 - 2 Low  

Sun Protection Not Required

Unless outside for extended periods, or near reflective surfaces such as snow or water.

UV Index

3 - 5 Moderate  

6 - 7 High  

8 - 10 Very High  

11+ Extreme  

Sun Protection Required

Wear sun-protective clothing, a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Apply high SPF sunscreen to any unprotected skin. Seek shade.

The Global Solar UV Index measures UV levels on a scale from 0 (Low) to 11+ (Extreme). Sun protection is recommended when UV levels are 3 (Moderate) or higher.

It provides a set of measures to protect the most vulnerable population groups, in particular children and fair-skinned people.

The UV Index and the sun protection times.

The UV level is affected by a number of factors including the time of day. The sun protection times are issued when UV levels are forecast to be 3 or higher. At these levels there is an increased risk of skin damage.

During the sun protection times, protect skin and eyes by using covering clothing, high SPF sunscreen, a broad-brimmed hat, shade and sunglasses.